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A couple of months ago an important document was published – the IFLA School library Guidelines. This document provides a significant international milestone for school libraries. An international document might seem far removed from our own local day-to-day experiences, but from an advocacy perspective, for countries with varied levels of library provision, there is great power in having a universal document recognised by an international body.

The creation of such a document is a major achievement in collaboration, and is the result of the hard work of an international team of experts led by Barbara Schulz-Jones and Dianne Oberg. 

Professor Ross Todd listed, on an International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) listserv, reasons as to why the guidelines is an important document. He said that it:

  • provides a strong philosophical and empirical basis for the development of school libraries worldwide

articulates a strong, coordinated and international voice, something that is so critical in the diverse educational contexts around the world

  • unifies, because it gives voice to transnational values that we hold very dear – a strong voice that can resonate across diverse cultural contexts and educational frameworks

  • provides wonderful flexibility for individual countries, regions, and in local contexts to establish their own vision, mission and strategic development plans that recognise where countries and regions are at, and the complexities that they face
, and
  • is such a strong foundation for the continuous development of libraries world-wide. Well done indeed!  (Ross Todd, Email to IASL Members Listserv, 11 August 2015)

The IFLA School library Guidelines is a document we should all be aware of, a document we should share and celebrate as an important contribution to our profession.

On another point, at the most recent annual IASL conference, I was elected to the position of Regional Director Oceania for IASL. In this role I act as a liaison for the region on the board of the International Association. As part of this role, I am interested in making connections with others in our profession beyond the shores of Australia, in the area of Oceania. I’m conscious that many Australian schools have links, both formal and informal, with other schools and libraries within the region, and I would like to make the most of these connections, and to foster them, as part of my director’s role. There are a range of ways in which all kinds of libraries can be involved in IASL, and I am hoping that working through established connections is one way of getting the message out as to what is on offer. Through collaboration, we will build another community of value in the region. If your school has links with other schools or libraries in the region of Oceania, please do let me know.

This issue of Synergy is extremely diverse. It includes research, discussion and commentary from a range of perspectives on many different topics. It is particularly pleasing that we can publish articles from a variety of school and tertiary colleagues in Victoria and also from schools in Brisbane, Singapore and the United Kingdom. This sharing of knowledge is valuable as it enriches our own professional practice. Please do take the time to read and share what you find in Synergy. We are always open to articles written in response to any ideas you may find here – just get in touch.


Dr Susan La Marca
School Library Association of Victoria