International Literacy Day 2020 marked the launch of the first ever comprehensive study of school library resourcing and staffing in South Australia. Commissioned by the School Library Association of SA (SLASA), the School Libraries in South Australia 2019 Census surveyed South Australia’s public, private and Catholic schools to better understand the links between library programs and critical skills including reading, digital and information literacy.
The independent study was prompted by the findings of a Parliamentary Inquiry in 2011, which highlighted a ‘fundamental need’ for hard data on school library staffing and the link between school library programs and literacy, with a particular focus on digital literacy.
“SLASA commissioned this study to commence answering that fundamental national need,” Mrs Molloy said. “Our objective was to gather that evidence for South Australia and to also now encourage other states to replicate the survey, so that the models and contribution of school library programs to supporting students to develop these essential skills is clearly understood at the national level.”
The census was undertaken by the Australian Council for Educational Research and surveyed school leaders on the various models of library program delivery, staffing, funding and school culture in all schools in South Australia. “We now know that effective delivery of critical literacy and inquiry skills in South Australian schools is influenced by factors such as a culture of support as well as facilities, collections, access and funding as well as staffing,” Mrs Molloy said.
“The census provides us with a clearer picture of the current resourcing levels of South Australian school libraries, including that 94% of schools have someone to manage their library collection but the burden of managing resources and providing appropriate support to teachers and students to develop literacy and inquiry skills is now falling on staff who have neither teaching nor library qualifications in just over a third of our schools. Just over half of the staff managing school library services in South Australian schools are not library-qualified and only 23% of schools have a qualified teacher librarian on their staff. The census results give us the hard data to now work towards implementing strategies that will support schools to address the disruptions of COVID-19 and ensure our school students are fully equipped to deal with the challenges of a digital world.”
Information, the Executive Summary and full Report are available HERE
The Fact Sheet is available HERE
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