I am not a children’s librarian- that is a specialty all of its own. The children’s librarians I have known in Libraryland have all been hard working, and passionate about children’s literature and literacy. The amount of work that is put into children’s preschool storytimes, school holiday programs and Children’s Book Week makes the mind boggle.
Some of these children’s librarians were also behind a Books for Babies project, which was eventually taken on and is now in place with maternal child health nurses in Victoria.
I took on board a lot of advice from the children’s librarian at Mr BG’s POW when the first little BG was born about books, and language development, which was of immense help.
And then there are school librarians, which sadly, I have not had a great deal to do with since I left school.What I can remember about them was an enthusiasm for reading and encouraging teenagers to move beyond Sweet Valley High and Dolly Romances.
Both of these librarians face a great deal of challenges in their work. Both would face irate parents demanding why a particular book is on the shelf and demand its removal from the library. Children’s librarians often have to deal with parents who seem to think that storytime is a de facto childcare hour and toddlers who are devil spawn. School librarians often have their budgets reduced or job disappearing as budgets are squeezed by the demand for more ICT within the school.
The Commonwealth House Standing Committee on Education and Employment released the full report on school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools on 23 May, which coincided with the start of Library and Information week.
The recommendations included
- the provision of a core set of online resources for all Australian schools
- the creation of a national policy statement on the important of digital and information literacy on learning
- support ALIA and ASLA initiatives by promoting a National Year of Reading
- encourage further training and ongoing professional development amongst teacher librarians
A wiki has been created by the Australian Library and Information Association and the Australian School Library Association, as has a Facebook page to raise awareness amongst parents, students, teachers and librarians.
The government has to respond to these recommendations with hopefully more than words, but additional funding.
And now I’m off to hear Master BG read his reader to me :).