Sarah Elliott’s Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Library History’

Hazell Reading – Challenges in teacher librarianship

Posted by sarahelliott on March 3, 2009

Key concerns in the 80s were:

  • ‘Social justice’ meant that the division of school budgets had to change to support the needs of special social groups. This may have meant a smaller library budget, but also a library budget that has to fund more than before, so as to cater for the needs of different groups – ‘gender, cultural, disability and socioeconomic’.
  • ‘Resource based learning’ became more significant in schools, thus changing the importance given to school library and its resources. Teacher-librarians began to have more of an influence on development of school curriculum.
  • ‘Cooperative programme planning and teaching’ – new idea that the teacher and teacher-librarian should work together to develop resource based units of work.
  • ‘Teaching of information skills’ – new ideas that were to be taught to create information literate students who would be able to survive in an information society.
  • ‘Policy statements’ – guidelines to promote role of teacher librarian in learning process.

In relation to the above:

  • What was the role of the teacher-librarian? Important for this to be clearly determined for both TLs and their administrators and colleagues.
  • Better qualified teacher-librarians needed in schools.
  • Better teacher education needed on how to select appropriate materials and how to teach information skills.
  • Money needed to help replace out-of-date resources.
  • Up-to-date standard were needed that reflected the changes in education in that decade.
  • Statistics about school libraries were needed to support requests for better resources, better training and revised standards etc.

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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. 


  • 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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