Professional Pathways in school libraries: new research commissioned

Dec 13, 2021 | Blog

As part of the Professional Pathways Initiative, ALIA has commissioned research to address the specialised needs of school libraries. The research is aimed at delivering a clearly articulated framework of necessary skills for school library staff; to support library and information science (LIS) course development and accreditation; potential micro-credentials for LIS and non-LIS qualified staff; and continuing professional development (CPD) for those working in school libraries.

Well-resourced school libraries staffed by qualified library professionals are essential in supporting student achievement and lifelong literacy. However, library staff often face significant challenges including limited resources and isolation, and a lack of understanding of their role amongst their peers and employers.

This new research, delivered as part of our Professional Pathways Initiative, will help ensure that library and information professionals working in school libraries are clearly differentiated, appropriately qualified through relevant, contemporary course content, and are able to access appropriate and recognised CPD wherever they are in Australia. Clear learning pathways for non-LIS qualified teachers and library assistants will encourage upskilling through LIS qualifications, and lead to long-term benefits for Australian school students.
Led by Dr Lyn Hay, Director of the Leading Learning Institute and guided by the ALIA Schools Expert Reference Group (ERG), the project builds on the work of ALIA Schools over many years, mapping teacher librarian roles to the AITSL standards, and developing the ALIA Schools CPD specialisation.
Through consultation with ALIA Schools members and non-members, including focus group interviews and an online survey, the project will identify professional learning challenges and opportunities for teacher librarians, librarians, library technicians and library assistants working in schools.
An investment now in updating and articulating skills frameworks, required qualifications and career-long professional development for school library staff is essential as we work to create wider recognition of the role and importance of school libraries and the people who work in them.


If you are a teacher librarian, librarian, library technician or library assistant who would be interested in participating in a focus group to inform the research, please contact


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