ACT election: prioritise school libraries say parents

ACT public school parent representatives are asking ACT election candidates to prioritise school libraries to help recover from COVID and lift student learning and engagement.

The ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations (Council) calls on all parties to commit to properly staffing school libraries and protecting these vital school spaces.

“Every public school must have a permanent, fully resourced library which is properly staffed by qualified teacher librarians,”  says Council spokesperson, Ms Cate Furey. 

“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.”

“It’s obvious to parents that properly staffed libraries are essential, yet only 4 out of every 10 public schools have that at the moment. We call on all election candidates to commit to funding school libraries properly.” 

“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