ACT election: prioritise school libraries say parents

ACT public school parent representatives are asking all ACT election candidates to prioritise school libraries and librarians to help with the COVID recovery and to lift student learning and engagement.

ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations’ (Council) spokesperson, Ms Cate Furey says parents will welcome the Liberal’s promise of more librarians. Council calls on other parties to match the promise and says politicians must also protect the libraries themselves.

“Every public school must have a permanent, fully resourced library which is properly staffed by qualified teacher librarians,” she says. “It’s really obvious to parents that properly staffed libraries are essential, but we only see that in around 4 out of every 10 public schools at the moment. We call on all election candidates to commit to funding school libraries properly.” 

“For students to recover quickly from lost learning due to COVID-19, and teachers to be better supported in this, qualified teacher librarians – and great libraries - have a vital role.”

“Parents know the magic that happens when someone puts the right book in the hands of their child at the right time,” says Ms Furey. “Why would we leave this to chance when we could have qualified staff in every school focusing on making that magic happen?”

“Qualified library staff also teach kids how to access and research information they can trust. This is more important than ever – we’ve seen so much fake news gain traction this year.”

Council is also very concerned about schools without a permanent dedicated library space.

“In some Canberra schools, enrolment pressure means that the library space has been turned into an extra classroom, and the books have been distributed. But kids need that quiet, relaxing book-filled space,” Ms Furey says. “It’s such an important part of our schools. Libraries are too valuable to lose.” 

“We’re calling for libraries to be quarantined and protected, to be permanently excluded from school capacity calculations. Extra classroom space needs to be created in another way – with more schools and school expansions where that will work. We recognise that the Government has earmarked considerable funds for transportable classrooms but we need more permanent solutions to return lost libraries and keep others safe,” she says.


Released September 8, 2020