Sarah Elliott’s Blog

Travel with me on my voyage of learning and discovery…

Learning from History (Lundin)

Posted by sarahelliott on February 26, 2009

In the 1960s in Australia, government funds were made available to allow for establishing school libraries. This development was linked to the outcomes of the Fenwick Report in 1964. Standards for school libraries were created and money was provided for pilot libraries and training of staff.

However, initially all the funding went into Secondary Schools – why? Was it because they are larger schools than primary schools and so it was as if the money was seen as going further as it was being invested in a larger number of students?… Was it because secondary school children are at an age where they are seen as being able to make greater use of resources? …The libraries were monitored and evaluated and deemed to be a success, as they helped promote a different learning style and supported more personalised learning with students becoming more responsible for their own learning.

However, this meant that when the money started to run out, the primary schools had not benefited from it on an equal level with secondary schools. They were behind in their development of school libraries and were sometimes considered too small to have a school library. 

Problems: 

  • The money had not always been spent wisely, as schools felt under pressure to spend it without having the necessary knowledge to know what to spend it on. It was spent too quickly and too inefficiently.
  • There was still a lack of qualified staff.
  • Buildings were not always well designed.
  • Equipment was poorly selected.

Although Australian school libraries in the 1960s were far from perfect, what strikes me is how advanced they seem to be compared to school libraries where I am currently living. I wonder, what government support  is there for training programmes for teacher librarians in Norway or indeed in the UK? Are there any local advisers who can assist teacher librarians in their role? What standards exist here for TLs? What policies may already be in practice?

We can learn from history. Governments can learn to be better advised and better prepared when implementing new plans. We personally can learn – what is important when setting up a school library, how can we create the best library learning space possible?

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