SLANZA’s response to comments made on Nine to Noon 17/11/2014 by the Minister of Education, Ms Hekia Parata
In an interview yesterday, Hekia Parata discussed the Innovation in Education programme, which is about bringing teachers who achieve results in their own schools to schools who may be struggling. Ms Parata was discussing collaboration between schools and teachers when she also moved on to discuss shared facilities. She asked the question “do schools need their own Library?”, but she also questioned the need for schools to have their own gym and assembly hall. She was discussing the pooling of resources so that several schools could share one ‘state of the art’ facility. This of course seems reasonable. Schools would like to use state of the art facilities for their students, but these facilities need to be accessible to all students and members of the school community.
The School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa supports providing all students with convenient access to a school library on site, with a text rich environment that supports their research, reading and learning as well as providing access to technology and ICT resources that support the curriculum. This will enable students to gain the skills they need to transition from school into the next phase of their education or working life. School libraries are areas for growing greater learning outcomes for all school students at all levels of their schooling.
At the moment many schools - especially primary schools - do not have a library. If they have a library it is often small, understaffed or unstaffed, often being used for other things such as a spare classroom. This is very disappointing. Access to a school library is very important to all students and teachers, providing a one stop shop for information and resources but also a vital place for community interaction, solitude and where interests can be stimulated.
SLANZA would like all schools to have a library that is staffed, open and easy to access.
A school library’s collection is hand picked for the community it serves. School librarians know their students, their interests, their curriculum needs and have an understanding of the community their library serves. Access to the services the school library provides is important for every student in New Zealand. How else are we to grow the literacy and encourage the love of reading and the quest for knowledge that a school library gives students the chance to obtain? We must not forget about the 10 - 12% of students with challenges of various kinds, about the 70,000 students who start school every year. School libraries provide working spaces, quiet places for meeting these students’ individual needs, and resources to support foundation literacy and to encourage these students towards better educational outcomes.
SLANZA National Executive