Statement on teacher librarian qualifications

Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian School Library Association (ASLA)

To emphasise the importance of qualifications for a teacher librarian.

ALIA objects addressed:

  • To ensure the high standard of personnel engaged in information provision and foster their professional interests and aspirations.

ASLA objectives addressed:

  • Establish, review and maintain national standards and guidelines for school library resource services.
  • Promote an understanding of the aims, needs and educational significance of school library resource services and teacher librarianship.
  • Promote the continuing professional development of teacher librarians nationwide.
  • Develop, write and publish materials which will promote the development of school library resource services and teacher librarianship.

Professional and support staff are essential for the effective functioning of the school library and information services centre and the achievement of the school’s teaching and learning goals.

Teacher librarians support and implement the vision of their school communities through advocating and building effective library and information services and programs that contribute to the development of lifelong learners. A teacher librarian is defined as one who holds recognised teaching qualifications and qualifications in librarianship, defined as eligibility for Associate (i.e. professional) membership for the Australian Library and Information Association [ALIA]. Within the broad fields of education and librarianship, teacher librarians are uniquely qualified. This is valuable because curriculum knowledge and pedagogy are combined with library and information management knowledge and skills.

So that the library and information services offered through the school library both shape and reflect the school's goals, professional staff should be qualified in teacher librarianship on entry to the profession. The nature of teacher librarianship and library and information services is constantly developing. Educational research and new understandings impact on curricula, teaching, learning and digital technologies. Therefore, continuing professional learning for teacher librarians is essential to maintain a current library and information service for the school.

The person responsible for leading and managing the school library should be a qualified teacher librarian. As a member of a school’s teaching team, the teacher librarian has a role in the planning, implementation and evaluation of educational policies, curricula, outcomes and programs, with particular reference to the development of students’ information literacy. Appropriately qualified technical and clerical staff should assist professional staff.

Courses in teacher librarianship emphasise the unique, integrated nature of the role. These qualifications ensure that the teacher librarian is both an educator and an information manager with integrated understandings from both of the areas. As a result, knowledge of the curriculum, teaching strategies and learning styles is combined with knowledge of resources, digital technologies, and library and database management. This enables teacher librarians to undertake an active role in curriculum design, support and implementation.

A qualified teacher librarian will:

  • develop a deep understanding of suitable pedagogies with relevance to learning styles;
  • model excellent teaching practice and guide teachers with curriculum implementation through collaborative practice;
  • model and develop information strategies to improve student learning outcomes;
  • evaluate student learning in relation to library programs and information services to inform and improve professional practice;
  • establish policies and procedures for efficient school library management;
  • use best practices in library and database management to manage the diverse range of information resources including the online environment to maximise accessibility and relevance;
  • adhere to standards in cataloguing, metadata application and database retrieval systems.

Related documents
Australian School Library Association and Australian Library and Information Association 2001, Learning for the future: developing information services in schools, 2nd ed., Curriculum Corporation, Carlton South.

Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians

Statement on library and information services in schools

Statement on teacher librarians in Australia

Adopted: November 1994 - Amended: February 2009

Last updated: 9/5/2016 9:12:15 AM