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The 2019 Softlink Australia, New Zealand, and Asia-Pacific School Library Survey Report


2019 Softlink School Library Survey Report

About the Softlink School library Survey

The School Library Survey, conducted by Softlink on behalf of the school library sector, examines key trends and issues impacting school libraries. Points for analysis include annual school library budgets and staffing levels, as well as the use of digital devices and digital resources in school libraries.

2019 is the tenth year of the School Library Survey for Australian schools, the fifth for New Zealand schools, and the second for the Asia Pacific region.

This report provides an analysis of the survey findings including library budgets, staffing levels, school library objectives, emerging trends, and eResource collections.

To download the full report, visit our resources page

Key findings Summary

Key findings from the 2019 Survey include:

  • 61% of respondents feel their library is not adequately resourced including staffing and budget.
  • 56% of respondents indicated that their library budget has not changed from the previous year, 19% indicated it had increased and 25% indicated it had decreased.
  • 64% of respondents indicated no change to their staffing levels from the previous year, 9% indicated it had increased, and 27% indicated a decrease.
  • 52% of Australian schools, 12% of New Zealand Schools, and 48% of Asia Pacific schools indicated that they had a least 1 qualified Teacher Librarian employed in their library.
  • 12% of Australian schools, 34% of New Zealand Schools, and 44% of Asia Pacific schools indicated that they had a least 1 qualified Librarian employed in their library.
  • 60% of respondents indicated that they include eBooks in their collection.
  • 51% of respondents indicated that they include eResources - subscription databases in their collection.

Comments shared reveal that, although school library staff face challenges around budget, staffing, and recognition of skills, school library advocacy is growing and there is greater recognition within the school community and the larger community of the need for a well-resourced library with qualified staff. In response to “What’s Trending” respondents shared:

“The gradual realisation by the general public that trained teacher librarians are essential in schools for the teaching and learning of digital literacy and general reading.”

“Our profession collaborating across Australia to advocate for the importance of school libraries.”

“The impact of nationwide campaigns such as Students Need School Libraries and the possibilities of more schools with well-resourced libraries.”

“I think there has been an increase in coverage of community libraries being community spaces. The coverage of this in the media means that principals and the executive are more aware of what libraries can provide, previously it would be the librarian trying to advocate this but coming from an external source it seems to have more weight.”

Respondents also shared a shift towards libraries becoming learning or digital hubs of the school and being used more as community spaces.

“There is a massive shift from libraries being a place to find books to so much more: meeting place, MakerSpace, digital hub, gaming space etc. - a shift from quiet space to creative space whilst offering an even greater range of resources.”

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey, we appreciate your ongoing support and look forward to continuing to work together to build stronger school libraries.

Thank you to all the School Library Associations and Partners for assisting in the promotion of the Survey…

*The 2019 school library survey was conducted between 28 Aug 2018 and 27 Sept 2019 with participant summaries released 24 Oct 2019. To download the full report, click here. Reports from previous years can be found on our resources page.