Canberra, 23 August 2023: Today marks the second Australian School Library Day - a day for celebrating school libraries and the people who work in them.
“This year’s theme, ‘Libraries are made by people’, highlights the vital contribution that school library teams make to the lives of Australian students and teachers.” says ALIA Acting CEO Trish Hepworth
Australian School Library Day is celebrated in the middle of Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Children’s Book Week®. During this week, students around the country come out in force to celebrate the books and characters they love, many of which they would have encountered for the first time in their school library.
“Today, across Australia we are encouraging students, parents and school staff to say thank you to all school library staff for the work they do and the expertise they demonstrate every day.” says Ms Hepworth
Australian School Library Day was launched in 2022 by the Students Need School Libraries campaign
and stands as an important opportunity to raise awareness of the critical need for a well-resourced and suitably staffed school library that can be accessed by all.
ALIA, along with the other school library associations in the Australian Coalition for School Libraries (ACSL), today renew our call
for a national target to be set for every Australian school student to have access to a well-resourced school library with a qualified teacher librarian and qualified support staff.
“With tens of thousands of Australian students not reaching basic levels of literacy and numeracy every year, Australia cannot afford the continued decline in student access to well-resourced school libraries with qualified staff.” says Ms Hepworth
This need is highlighted by the changes that generative AI is already making to the information ecosystem. In a world where mis and dis information is cheaper and easier to create than ever before, school libraries play a critical role in teaching the information and media literacy skills needed to navigate the changed landscape. ALIA’s recent joint submission to the inquiry into generative artificial intelligence in the Australian education system highlighted the critical need for students and staff to have the right skills to effectively assess and ethically use generative AI tools, and called for adequate resourcing for school libraries to support this work.
ALIA will continue to work with and on behalf of the sector to support school library staff and ensure student access to high quality school library services.