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ACCESS - From the President

ACCESS - Current Edition:

From the President

Access, Vol. 35, Issue 4, 2021, p.2.


President, Natalie Otten

Welcome to issue 4 of ACCESS. This year has been one of challenges and opportunities for Teacher Librarians (TLs) and school library staff around Australia. The challenges of COVID-19 and lockdown has highlighted the resourcefulness of TLs as we pivoted into the online environment and remote learning. The opportunities that have come from this have also highlighted the importance of trained library staff in supporting educators, learners and families navigate the online environment.

Unfortunately, many of our colleagues in states across Australia are facing changes to their roles/positions as school leadership make decisions about staffing for 2022. The ASLA board has heard many stories from across Australia and are concerned about the impact this will have. Advocacy is a vital part of ASLA’s role as the national association for school libraries. As President, I take this responsibility seriously and have recently had meetings with other associations and colleagues across Australia to continue advocating for trained school library staff. This issue of ACCESS highlights advocacy and includes informative articles on this topic. ASLA has a strong partnership with the Students Need School Libraries campaign and the campaign leader Holly Godfree shares an article in this issue. The ASLA Australian Teacher Librarian of the Year Anne Girolami shares her view of the role of the TL and its challenges, and we hear about the SA context from Wendy Rutten, President of SLASA.

The ASLA board is currently looking for nominations for casual board members to join us. We would love to continue our strong representation of board members from each state and territory around Australia. This is an exciting time to be a part of the national association. There are some exciting projects planned for the next 12 months which we’d love you to be a part of. If you would like more information about this opportunity, please contact myself or the ASLA Executive Officer, Judy Thompson.

As we head into the festive season, we trust that you will all be able to enjoy some time with family and friends. As with many associations, the board and admin team take some well-earned time off over the Christmas/New Year period. The ASLA website will be taken offline for part of December/January as we make some changes to the website. We are still working behind the scenes and preparing an amazing line up of webinars for 2022.

I would like to leave you with this quote from Anne Lamott. In a year where isolation has been a major theme, be encouraged that you are not alone.

“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: They feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” – Anne Lamott - Bird by bird: Some instructions on writing and life

Natalie Otten
President, ASLA.

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