From the President
Access, Vol. 33, issue 1, 2019, p.2.
President, Kate Reid
Welcome to 2019, the 50th anniversary year of ASLA!
This year heralds many opportunities for growth and change, locally, nationally and globally. In our local schools we can look at ways to pursue the core business of school libraries: Jason Saikaly of Barker College and Julia Petricevic of Genazzano FCJ College present two different approaches to promoting reading for leisure and pleasure. Also at the local level but with a broader viewpoint is Tehani Croft’s article on tackling senior leadership positions such as Head of Library. Tehani makes an enormous amount of sense as she dissects the worries that hold teacher librarians back from applying for leadership positions. Perhaps when faced with such exciting but daunting opportunities we should be asking ourselves: is this a chicken-vs-egg situation? Tehani challenges us to stop worrying about what we haven’t done yet and focus instead on what we want to achieve, and go for it.
For the national picture please read the article contributed by Nikki Curtis of Softlink — the annual Softlink surveys provide our profession with invaluable data on the state of school libraries and the feelings of those in the school library profession. The surveys also prompt us to reflect in a systematic way about our school libraries, and how we can play to our strengths. The specific theme Nikki reports on is how to promote our libraries — there is a fantastic range of ideas here from staff in school libraries all over Australia and New Zealand, and I already have several in mind to try in my school’s primary and secondary library spaces. Also at the national level is the annual Safer Internet Day — coming so early in the Australian School Year this can be difficult to celebrate, but if we add the date to the end-of-year calendar list then we will be ready and raring to go come the following February.
Global connections are only as far away as your internet connection: Seuss Day in March, International Teacher’s Day in October, Banned Books Day, Global Read Aloud in October — why not connect with a school several countries and hours away, and swap book recommendations?
Leonie McIlvenny’s article on the evolution of school libraries is, I think, reflective of the evolution in our thinking about education, from very rule-bound, inward, local thinking (such as when I attended primary school some 3+ decades ago) to a much more innovative, outward-looking, global perspective on what students need and how we can support them.
Finally, bringing it all together, we have our ASLA XXVI Conference. The conference theme is Leading Learning and will be held on 14– 16 April at the National Library of Australia. With a spectacular line-up of local, national and global speakers, including Jackie French and Morris Gleitzman, this conference will be an amazing celebration of the teacher librarian profession and of the role of school libraries and their staff in supporting the educational and entertainment literacy needs of our students.