Findings from Softlink's 2011 Australian School Library Survey revealed school library budgets are under threat and creating concern within the school community in relation to library resourcing, library staff development and literacy outcomes.
As the largest supplier of School Library Management Systems in Australia, Softlink's survey focused on school library budgets, staffing levels, and how these factors related to student literacy levels. Over 1,200 Australian schools participated in the study.
The survey revealed four out of five Australian school libraries are struggling to cope with decreasing budgets, despite increasing demands to improve literacy outcomes and cope with digital resources.
Results indicate 28% of school libraries received budget cuts, with 16% of school library budgets experiencing more than a 10% decrease. Out of the of the schools which responded to the survey, 4 out of 5 school library budgets decreased from the prior year.
Mr. Nathan Godfrey, Softlink's Chief Operating Officer, is concerned that school libraries and librarians are not receiving adequate support on both political and local agendas.
"The role of the librarian is rapidly evolving, due to increasing reliance on technology. Schools need to ensure that library resources are updated and relevant for students. Unfortunately, it seems school libraries are expected to do this on a diminishing library budget," Mr. Godfrey said.
A report produced by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment titled School libraries and teacher librarians in 21st century Australia, noted a clear correlation between school libraries, teacher librarians, and student achievement, and confirmed this was not widely acknowledged.
"This finding is very important, for it has officially acknowledged what we in the industry have understood for a long time. If you have a good school library with qualified library staff and adequate resources, then this will be shown as a positive result in regards to literacy levels for students," said Mr. Godfrey.
"It would be beneficial for the school community to understand these findings and acknowledge that the school library is in fact, central to student learning."
Softlink aims to continue their research into Australian school library resourcing and school literacy levels each year, to help in highlighting the importance of school libraries and the library staff who manage these valuable resources.
To download the Report on Softlink's School Library Survey Findings, visit http://www2.softlinkint.com/?au/softlink-australian-schools-survey
Softlink is a world-leading developer of Library Management Systems, and information management software solutions. Softlink's software which is developed at its Brisbane head office is now installed in over 10,000 libraries in 108 countries covering ten major languages.
Solutions built with world-leading technology are strengthened by a range of local support services, delivered by Softlink's product experts, experienced library and IT specialists on staff.
Softlink have won two major export awards; The Premier of Queensland's Award for Export Excellence - Information Technology and the Australian Exporter of the Year – Information Technology.
For more information on Softlink and its Liberty and Oliver products, visit www.softlinkint.com.