School library trends

Have you been keeping up to date with what’s new and happening in school libraries and what lies on the horizon?

Cover of School libraries: what's now, what's next, what's yet to come

School libraries: what's now, what's next, what's yet to come

Edited by Kristin Fontichiaro and Buffy Hamilton, School libraries: what’s now, what’s next, what’s yet to come offers a collection of over 100 crowdsourced essays from a mix of librarians, teachers, publishers and library vendors and covers a range of issues relating to school libraries such as learners, literacy, gaming, reading, physical and virtual library spaces and collection development. This free e-book is available as an HTML webpage and in Epub, Kindle and PDF formats.

Inquiry into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools

Blink and you might have missed it, but during Library and Information Week, The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment released a report on school libraries and teacher librarians in Australia’s public and private schools. The media release for the report explains that

The report investigates the issues of role, adequacy and resourcing of school libraries and teacher librarians in Australia. The report focuses on the impact of government policies and investments on school libraries, the potential of school libraries and teacher librarians to contribute to improved educational outcomes, and the recruitment and development of teacher librarians. The 163‐page report also looks at partnering and supporting school libraries and teacher librarians with other libraries.

You can view the full report (as a PDF) here, or alternately by individual chapter here.

Library specialists being shelved

A school library is a unique learning space in a school. It is a flexible, dynamic, high-tech learning centre designed to prepare students to function effectively in an increasingly complex informational and technological world,” she says.

This is why schools cannot afford to lose the intellectual rigour teacher-librarians bring to schools, says Fay Pattison, a teacher-librarian at Sacred Heart Girls College and a member of the Victorian Catholic Teacher-Librarian Network.

“The trend of principals employing non teacher-librarians to manage libraries needs to be stopped for the sake of quality of learning in our communities,” Ms Pattison says. “We believe it is primarily a cost-saving action which reflects very short-term thinking.

From an excellent article in The Age at: http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/library-specialists-being-shelved-20100806-11o9t.html

Goodbye and thanks

And so we have a new Prime Minister, let us not forget so quickly that as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd publicly supported libraries on a number of occasions as well as child literacy.

In his parting speech he talked of the building programme which has created hundreds of new or refurbished school libraries across Australia.

I’m proud of the fact that new libraries are springing up right across the country, often in schools which have never had a library before in their lives

The programme may have been managed by our new Prime Minister Julia Gillard, but it was Rudd’s policy. A policy that rested on the value that he gained as a bright and committed child from his school library.

Seselja, Loui, 1948-
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd leaving the National Library of Australia after attending the book launch of Andrew Fisher’s biography by David Day, 29 October 2008

Query

Money from the government’s economic stimulus package has been used to modernise and expand many schools, and I believe school libraries. I can’t seem to find any statistics on this however, anyone out there got any ideas? Also once a school library is built or re-modeled does the funding also pay for new equipment/technology and books?

Update - Oh hang on the information is here http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/BuildingTheEducationRevolution/Pages/P21.aspx 8 new school libraries in the A.C.T alone, and others refurbished. No information on the collections however.

Students in the library

Last week, I mentioned the New York Times piece on the future of school libraries. They have a follow up piece this week which highlights the views of a range of students in regards to what they use their library for, how they use print and electronic media and where they think school libraries might end up in the future. It’s interesting to read what’s going on now and compare where students (and not just industry insiders) think libraries are headed.

The future of the book in school libraries

A lot of things have changed since I was in school. The school library of my day was composed mostly of books, with open spaces with chairs for reading, tables for study and a limited number of computers for use by the librarian alone, with a rudimentary library management system. This gradually morphed into the incorporation of additional computers with a limited number of databases for student use (generally only availabe on CD) and, later, more computers were added and more databases, with the inclusion of electronic subscription services.

But what of the books in the school library? Changes are, inevitably, afoot in the school libraries of today as electronic information becomes more readily available. The Room for debate blog, over at the New York Times, has a series of interviews with some prominent library types discussing the future directions of the school libraries of today, including their use of print and electronic media.