Annual Softlink School Library Survey report released

May 02, 2017

Findings from the 2016 Softlink Australian and New Zealand School Library Survey are now available.

The survey captured information and trends pertinent to school libraries in Australia and New Zealand.

Key findings include statistical links between school library funding and the number of professionals employed within the school library, and NAPLAN Reading Literacy results.

Softlink Education General Manager, Hillary Noye said these results have been consistent over the survey’s history and reinforce industry research that continues to show well-resourced school libraries correlate with improved literacy.

The 2016 survey findings indicate a continued trend toward budget stabilisation for school libraries in the region.

Hillary said it was encouraging that fewer school libraries were reporting budget cuts.

‘52% of respondents felt that their library was adequately funded, which is the same response as in 2015. Of the 48% of schools that would like to see an increase in funding, 57% indicated an increase of less than 30% would be acceptable.’

Hillary said school libraries need adequate funding to deliver valuable learning resources to students and school communities.

‘While budget stabilisation trends are encouraging, 48% of respondents still don’t believe their school library is adequately funded and secondary schools reported the highest level of budget decreases.’

Additional findings indicate there has been a significant increase in the number of schools reporting they now provide web access to their school library from both inside and outside the school. 

‘66% of schools indicated they now provide access to the library from outside the school compared to 58% in 2015.’

The Softlink 2016 Australian and New Zealand School Library Survey Report is available for download from Resources section of this website.

The purpose of the survey: 

School libraries are thriving centres of learning both in the physical library space and in the virtual classroom and Teacher Librarians enrich school teaching and learning programs through their specialist role.

In 2010, the Australian Federal Government requested submissions to the ‘Inquiry into school libraries and Teacher Librarians in Australian schools’. Softlink undertook a survey of Australian school libraries to provide data for an informed response to the Inquiry.

Since then, Softlink has continued to survey Australian schools annually in an effort to understand the issues facing Australia’s school libraries and report on the findings. Continuing the annual survey, with the inclusion of New Zealand for the first time in 2015, builds a critical reference point for understanding changes, impacts and trends over time. The results provide a solid basis for advocacy for school libraries.