Keeping Young Australians Reading

A very interesting and useful report from the Centre for Youth Literature on the state of reading at the young adult level has been released. Updating the 2001 report Young Australians Reading, Keeping Young Australians Reading addresses the landscape and data of, you guessed it, young adults reading in 2009.

Paula Kelly, the Reader Development and Onsite Learning Manager (inc. Centre for Youth Literature) Learning Services at the State Library of Victoria highlights the following points from the new report:

  • that young people area reading – perhaps more than ever!
  • why it is vital to promote reading and the positive outcomes it affects
  • what the barriers are to reading and how to overcome them
  • trends in young people’s reading environments and challenges in addressing these
  • how it is we all can put, and keep, books in the hands of young people

The State Library and the Centre for Youth Literature are also to be congratulated on the following achievements:

  •  a doubling of the youth audience in partnership with others in the Centre for Youth Literature program delivery
  • the distribution of almost 100,000th free picture books for Victorian 2 year olds in the Young Readers Program
  • the development of an online primary age audience partnership with SuperClubs Plus Australia
    (for which an Arts Victoria Leadership Award was presented)
  • the launch of another adult Summer Read program in partnership with the Public Libraries of Victoria
  • the support of the establishment of the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance.

Well done to everyone involved. The 2001 report Young Australians Reading was a vital and much quoted report. The 2009 Keeping Young Australians Reading is also a must-read for anyone interested in young adult education. Anyone on the ground in school or public libraries know exactly what is happening in their own institution, but it is imperative that we see the bigger picture of the culture of reading Australia-wide. It is also very useful to be able to access up-to-date statistics to add evidence to any budget or grant applications.

Australian Children’s Literature Alliance

The Australian Children’s Literature Alliance is a relatively new organisation that aims to promote all things reading.


From their website comes the following information:

The Australian Children’s Literature Alliance is an independent,  not-for-profit organisation founded in 2008 to champion and promote the transformational power of reading in the lives of young Australians. ACLA is a collegial and inclusive organisation with representation from all children’s and young adult literature industry and community sectors.

   ACLA’s mission is to:

  • promote the value, importance and transformational nature of reading
  • influence the reading habits of Australian families
  • raise the profile of books in the lives of children and young adults
  • champion the cause of young Australians’ reading in a consultative, collegial and inclusive way.

ACLA is currently in the process of establishing a Children’s Laureate for Australia. Read more about the Children’s Laureate project here

  The current ACLA Board members are:

  • Bronwen Bennett (VIC) Chair
  • Malcolm Neil (VIC) CEO, Australian Booksellers Association
  • Paula Kelly (VIC) State Library of Victoria, representing the Centre for Youth Literature
  • Damian Morgan (TAS) Independent Bookseller, Stories Bookshop Launceston
  • Dyan Blacklock (SA) Convenor, Children’s Publishing Committee, Australian Publishers’ Association
  • Libby O’Donnell (NSW) Australian Publishers’ Association
  • Fiona Lange (SA) The Little Big Book Club
  • Ann James (VIC) Australian Society of Authors
  • Marj Kirkland (QLD) National President, Children’s Book Council of Australia
  • Val Noake (NSW) e:lit – the Primary English Teaching Association
  • Lesley Reece (WA)  Director, Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre

ACLA and its projects are managed by Tina Lehnert, Project Officer.

A wonderful development and a useful resource for anyone interested in the power and value of reading.