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ASLA August 2020 ENewsletter

Dear Members, 

As the difficulties of 2020 continue, I trust that you and your family are remaining healthy and able to face the challenges of day to day life.

The school library can provide a safe haven for many of our students and ASLA is proud to announce the following research initiative:

Dr Margaret Merga, in partnership with ASLA has been successful in obtaining funding from BUPA to undertake a ground-breaking research project entitled:  

School libraries promoting well being in Australian Primary and Secondary schools: An exploratory study. 

This study will provide research-based evidence for the important role that school libraries and school library staff play in promoting positive mental health in schools across Australia. ASLA thanks Dr Merga for this initiative and looks forward to working together on this very worthwhile research project.

Margo Pickworth
ASLA President

ASLA Journal

Latest edition now available.

Member download here


On 8th of September, International Literacy Day, SLASA released the ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research) report: School Libraries in South Australia 2019 Census. This comprehensive report is an Australian first and gaining both national and international attention. The SLASA committee has worked tirelessly on this project since we first commissioned ACER to undertake this research two years ago, and we are proud to share this report with you. Download your copy here.

The results of the census are alarming. Only 23% of school libraries in South Australia have a qualified Teacher Librarian. Research shows that the ideal staffing for a school library requires a team of both a dual qualified Teacher Librarian and school library assistants (SSOs/ESOs).

  • Having qualified library staff matters. Schools with a qualified teacher librarian in this role are more likely to have improved student literacy outcomes. Using NAPLAN 2018 data, students’ reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation outcomes at Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 were found to be significantly associated with the qualification-level of the person who manages the library.

  • Students in schools with a qualified teacher librarian had up to two month’s learning gain, compared to students in schools with no staff member managing the library, taking into account the effect of socio-economic status. The difference in Year 9 student literacy outcomes was particularly evident. (Dix, K 2020 p5)

Over the past few weeks SLASA has been meeting with key stakeholders to discuss the findings of the report and work towards meeting the recommendations. On the 2nd of September we met with John Gardner, Education Minister and Jenny Sommer (Director, Partnerships and Professional Practice). They were both keen to read the report and very supportive of the important role that all school libraries play in the education and wellbeing of our students.

Our meeting with Geoff Stempel (Director of the State Library of South Australia) and Hanlie Erasmus (Associate Director of Public Libraries of South Australia) focused on the importance of School/Community Libraries, how we could work together to advocate for school libraries and their staff and ways in which we could meet recommendation 5.

5. That for equitable access for all students, the South Australian government consider extending the online digital information resources available through the SA Public Library Network to be available across all South Australian schools. (Dix, K 2020 p5)

We each have a part to play in advocating for school libraries and their staff. We encourage you to share the ACER report with your school leaders and local politicians. The Students Need School Libraries website has a range of resources and tips to support you with advocacy. We know your work matters. We need to work together to help spread that message.

We thank ASLA for their continued support and hope to find ways to replicate this study nationally.

Dix, K., Felgate, R., & Ahmed, S.K., Carslake, T., & Sniedze-Gregory, S. (2020). School libraries in South Australia. 2019 Census. Adelaide, Australia: Australian Council for Educational Research.

Hajnalka Molloy
President School Library Association of South Australia (SLASA)

Took the Children Away by Archie Roach

In this special thirtieth anniversary edition of Took the Children Away, Archie’s iconic song lyrics sit alongside evocative illustrations by his beloved soulmate and musical collaborator, Ruby Hunter. Also included are Archie’s recollections of his family and rare historical photographs.

Renew your membership here

Upcoming Events

7 October 2020

ASLA Webinar Series

Building a Virtual Library

with Cathy Costello

- Seven Hills High School TL
shares ideas for her extensive 
virtual library -

21 November 2020

This is one online professional learning opportunity that you will not want to miss!

Registrations have remained at 
$150 for members

This represents great value for a wonderful day of high-quality PD. It including keynotes from Dr Margaret Merga, ASLA’s patron, presenting her very latest research in fostering literacy in schools. 

This will be followed by practical implementation strategies through presentations from expert school practitioners, school leaders and literacy experts from across Australia. 

Facilitated discussion as well as Q and A sessions will enable active online interaction with other participants from across Australia as well as with the presenters

If you have already registered  for your state summit you do not need to register again.

The Summit will provide you with:

  • Current research on student literacy
  • Successful strategies to use in your school
  • Strong research-based literacy programs
  • Guidance on how to raise school literacy levels
  • Advocacy ideas for your School Library


2 Day Online Conference

More info coming soon

Membership Renewals for 2021

Look out next month for your 2021 renewal notice or find it on your member portal.

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