ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Schools Australia 2012 report stated the number of Australian government schools (6,697), Catholic schools (1,713) and independent schools (1,017), giving a total of 9,427 primary and secondary schools.
Almost all schools have a library of some description, but they vary enormously in terms of staffing, facilities and resources. At the lower end, there are schools with a few shelves of books and a member of staff whose responsibility it is to look after them, as part of a much wider teaching or administration role. At the high end, there are flagship library and IT hubs, with more than a dozen members of staff. Several of the team will be qualified teacher librarians. They will have a growing collection of print and ebooks and provide a range of services to students, including safer online experiences, group learning and study spaces, and more electronic resources.
ALIA SUPPORT FOR SCHOOL LIBRARIES
ALIA and our school library association colleagues have been lobbying for a greater investment in school libraries and library professionals, to ensure that all students are supported to develop document, prose, information and digital literacy skills.
- The ALIA Schools Group operates out of Victoria and has a highly active role in shaping the Association’s activities and campaigns for this sector. The group not only advises on policy, but also runs regular professional development sessions and provides opportunities for members to participate as volunteers for events and advocacy.
- ALIA advocates for school libraries at a national, state and local level.
- We helped lead the sector’s response to the 2011 federal government Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher Librarians in Australian Schools.
- With the Australian School Library Association we created the campaign What a difference a school library makes, in 2011.
- For 2013, we initiated the 13 Project, working in partnership with school library associations, Softlink and government.
- In 2015-2016, we ran the Great School Libraries campaign on behalf of a coalition of school library associations, through the FAIR platform.
- We keep our school library members up-to-date through ALIA Weekly enewsletter, INCITE magazine and targeted conference programs.
- Our PD Scheme recognises ongoing learning and our training courses cover topics that are relevant to our members from school libraries.
- ALIA Training offers professional development training opportunities to those working in school libraries.
- ALIA accredits courses that prepare graduates for careers as teacher-librarians.
- Our fellowships and awards recognise the achievements of members in all spheres of endeavour.