SINGLETON High teacher librarian Martin Gray has raised concerns over Department of Education reforms that he said have allowed teacher librarians to be taken away from their area of expertise and allocated to lead classes.
Mr Gray provided evidence on Tuesday at the independent Valuing the Teaching Profession inquiry, which the NSW Teachers Federation has commissioned to investigate the changed nature and value of teachers' work.
He said the department gave every school a teacher librarian on top of their teaching allotment.
"In Local Schools Local Decisions, a lot of teacher librarians are taken off the library and they're put on classes... they're taken out of their faculty area and are teaching in other faculties," he said.
"It's a slow creep but it means the ability to meet the policy which is to [foster] love of reading and supply resources can't be done, because under Local Schools Local Decisions they've been taken off the job they've been paid to do and the job the school is funded to do by the government.
"We don't understand why it's happening because the educational research says there are benefits for the students in having a teacher librarian."
Mr Gray said school libraries should not be downsized.
He said a recent South Australian survey showed schools with libraries had NAPLAN results "two months ahead" of schools without.
He said libraries were "vitally important" in providing a "safe space" for students, including those with anxiety or who were being bullied.
Sometimes they help with discipline, providing places for "time out".
Mr Gray said teacher librarian roles had changed with technology and included helping students understand how to judge what were reliable sources online.
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