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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Of Qualified Teacher-librarians

Below is a link to a petition that has been running on-line in Australia. I am a qualified teacher-librarian. In Victoria, we've been a dying breed since the previous Premier gave State School Principals the control of the purse strings in their schools (something the current government has not changed back). Well, I say control, but in the end, they have to find ways to save money and they save it by cutting library staffing and employing people who are less qualified or not qualified at all. It's easier and less noticeable, unless you actually work in the school.

I believe in California, the "Governator" is trying to get rid of libraries altogether - at least it hasn't gone that far yet here, although it's not for want of trying; some years ago, I heard about a school where they planned to get rid of the library altogether, buy a lot of computers and replace library staff with a computer technician who could not only help kids do their web searching (after all, nobody reads books any more, do they, they just go on-line) but could fix the computers and would cost less and have to work longer hours!

It didn't happen, thank heaven, but we're not far off. The other day we had a college-wide planning day. One of the things we discussed was a unit of work centred around research skills and I suggested that the folk from each campus worked with their teacher-librarians - of course, there's already one campus where a good quality teacher-librarian, who had been involved in curriculum planning, was replaced by an unqualified library aide - not a library assistant, because you need a certificate for that. An aide. She does what she can, but she is not a teacher or even a librarian. She can't plan or help in planning curriculum. She can't teach.

If you read this and live in Australia, and you want your children literate, please
visit this site and add your signature. Then let your friends know about it and ask them to spread the word in their turn.

Online petition - A Qualified Teacher Librarian in Every School

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