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Teacher/Librarian Issue November 14, 2010.

Dear ,
Thank you for alerting me to the issue of the dropping number of teacher/librarians being employed to work in State Schools. The State Government is leaving it up to individual schools to make the decision according to their internal assessment of their needs.

As a Secondary English teacher, with 30 years of experience in teaching and tutoring literacy and literature, I am well aware of the importance of teacher/librarians in schools. I believe that every school, primary and secondary, should have at least one fully qualified, full-time teacher/librarian. For tiny country primary schools there should be roving teacher/librarians, shared between 2 or 3 schools. In schools that are choosing not to employ teacher/librarians, the students and teachers will miss out on many important services.
Teacher librarians do so much more than checking books in and out. They advise students and teachers about the best places to obtain information. In 2010, that involves extensive knowledge of information technology and how to access on-line journals and other on-line materials. They educate other teachers in accessing and using resources available through the Internet. They still have an important role in fostering a love of reading, whether the books are hard copy or soft.
In the schools in which I have worked, teacher/librarians are people who have got to know all of the students personally, and their reading tastes. They advise on what the next "must read" is, and keep the passion for literature alive. They keep up with all of the new literature for young adults coming in, and buy the best.
When I was teaching English as a Second Language, the teacher/librarian bought in special, modified versions of popular novels for my students. She also provided copies of the Shakespearian texts with easy to read translations.
There are so many tasks carried out by a teacher/librarian that volunteers or librarians without teaching qualifications simply could not do. To starve our schools of these important staff members is to profoundly reduce the effectiveness of our schools and the other teachers, who often turn to the teacher/librarian for advice.

Teacher/librarians have my support in raising awareness about this short sighted move by many schools to replace them with volunteers or library technicians.

Yours sincerely,

Heather Abramson.
Labor Candidate for Caulfield