Letter of support from the Australian Society of Authors

January 24, 2008

The Hon. K. M. Rudd MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

The Hon. J. E. Gillard MP
Minister for Education
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

The Australian Society of Authors (ASA), the peak body representing Australia’s literary creators with over 3000 members, is pleased to support the commitment to education shown by the Rudd government.

You may not be aware, but authors are closely involved in education, particularly with regard to literacy and narrative skills. To this end, the ASA sought support for a program introducing authors into disadvantaged schools from the Department of Education Science and Technology (DEST) in 2006. Funding of $25,000 was approved and, in co-operation with DEST and the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) Priority Schools Program, the ASA carried out a trial project placing authors in disadvantaged schools in 2007. The evaluation for this project is currently being completed by DET and the results will be sent to DEST as required under our funding agreement, but the preliminary results show great success for the involvement of authors in the education process. We now seek your support to evolve the project to a more advanced stage and in other States and Territories.We also encourage you to consider the important role that teacher librarians play in expanding the literary and cultural horizons of Australian students. At present it is not mandatory in schools to have qualified teacher librarians. It has been shown in the past through independent surveys that having the school library staffed by qualified teacher librarians has a positive impact on student learning. The role of the teacher librarian has changed significantly in recent times, particularly where information communication technologies are concerned. Teacher librarians not only contribute significantly to literary skills and cultural awareness, they are also important in developing student technology and information literacies. The ASA supports the mandatory placement of teacher librarians in Australian schools.

Both the Chair of the ASA, Ms Georgia Blain, and myself are available to discuss these matters further with you or your advisors. I look forward to hearing further from you.

Yours sincerely

Dr Jeremy Fisher
Executive Director
Australian Society of Authors


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