When it comes to school libraries in the 21st century, there are many challenges that need to be addressed by teacher librarians and school administration teams. There is abundant research evidence that good school librarians and good libraries make a difference – a radical difference in the learning lives of our students.
But the evidence is of little value unless school librarians and/or teacher librarians also work together to empower their own learning and forge new pathways for integrating into the learning needs of students.
Sadly, in Australia, I would suggest that teacher librarians are their own worst enemies. We do not present a united voice – rather the tensions that abound between various teacher librarian groups who choose NOT to work together with a national voice is to me particularly alarming. No matter how good your local group or state group is – it is the national voice that influences government and other national organizations. What has your local or state group done to promote the national needs of teacher librarians? Are they supporting the work of ASLA national - actively, courageously, generously, and relentlessly? Our own national organization has done so much to ensure the past, present and future of school libraries across the nation.
So how could you not be excited by the upcoming opportunity in October in sunny Sydney? If you have not as yet registered to attend the XXII national bi-biennial conference of the Australian School Library Association please do not miss this chance to collaborate with your peers from Australia. Registrations close this week!
It is more important than ever to put regional and sectional interests behind us. Just this week our own national listserv is replete with stories yet again of school principals who are removing teacher librarians from their school library. Others, secure in their own jobs, forget to take a national view on preserving and promoting the profession. It’s not enough to attend local events. It’s not enough to take out membership of a regional or state group – if in doing so you are cut off from national action and do not lend your voice to national collaboration.
I want to personally thank ASLA national for providing us with national publications, national standards, national events, and for taking national responsibility for our profession. Let’s never forget – there is no other school library organization that can do this for us!
Think local and act national – this is the only way to ensure the future of good school libraries across our nation.
Come to the conference!