Resourcing of school libraries linked to improved literacy

Preliminary findings from 2013 Australian School Library Survey suggest prioritising school libraries could help lift literacy levels, says Nathan Godfrey Softlink Chief Operating Officer.

For the fourth year the survey, conducted by Softlink, identified a positive relationship between library resources (budgets and staffing levels) and improved reading results.

The findings revealed schools with a higher than the national average NAPLAN reading literacy score reported higher levels of library funding and staffing.  Similarly, school libraries with low student literacy scores reported lower levels of funding and staffing.

Nathan said as more schools moved towards student centred pedagogy and digital learning, the spotlight was on libraries and the value they offer schools within the digital world.

“Technology is changing education delivery at a rapid pace,” Nathan said.  “Impacts include student-driven demand for multi-format resource delivery (formats such as ebooks, audiobooks, music, video and more) – past the walls of the library, into the classroom and beyond.

“Today’s students are tech savvy. Born into a digital world, students expect to learn through the technology they know and have access to at home.

Nathan said the school library was appreciated by students, teachers and the wider school community as the learning hub of the school.

“Many leading schools have already invested in eBooks and digital innovations to ensure their libraries have the tools to engage learners in 21st century, digital learning programs,” he said.

“Based on the directions of leading education providers, and the survey findings, the library could be a school’s best launch pad into digital learning and content delivery.  As a result, this supports better learning outcomes for students.”

The Australian School Library Survey has been undertaken by Softlink since 2010.  More than 800 Australian primary and secondary schools (government, catholic and independent) participated in the 2013 survey, which compares Australian school library budgets and staffing with NAPLAN Reading Literacy results. The survey also reviews ongoing industry challenges faced by Australia’s school libraries.

The full survey results will be released within the coming weeks.

About Softlink

Softlink is a world-leading developer of knowledge, content, library management solutions, supporting more than 10,000 education, corporate, government and public organisations and libraries across 108 countries.

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