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School Libraries – Powering Learning

Effective schools are those that participate in professional learning, and that review and adapt practice and programs to best meet the ongoing challenges of education. The work of school library professionals is a critical component of a school’s success. Through a newly developed consultancy program, the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV) is able to provide a panel of expert, highly qualified teacher librarians to guide and support you in this mission.
SLAV is the peak body for the profession of school librarianship in the state of Victoria. SLAV represents many hundreds of schools across all sectors and at all levels of schooling. It operates an effective and vibrant network of regional branches, has an active publications program, produces two professional journals (print and online), and offers an extensive professional learning program. SLAV’s outreach is informed by, and celebrates, research evidence and quality examples of best practice.

SLAV Consultancy & Speakers Agency

SLAV has designed a program that it is flexible, supportive, and very competitively priced.

It is available at primary, secondary or K-12 levels to provide library staff development, both individual and team. In addition, sessions are also available for domain areas, the whole school or across school networks.

The program can be delivered as short or whole-day sessions, or as longer-term consultancies for action research, program review or ongoing support. The goal of our experienced speakers and consultants is to upskill staff and enhance school library program.

All programs can be individually tailored, so contact us and we can discuss how best to meet the needs of your school.

Suggested Areas


  • Leading and developing library staff teams
  • Embedding the library in learning
  • Effective use of data to inform practice
  • Collection development and curation

Learning and Teaching

  • Information literacy and research skills
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Ethical use of information


  • Creating a school wide reading culture
  • Wide reading programs


  • Learning space design
  • Policy formation
  • Submissions and reports
  • What a school library can do for you!

Speakers / Consultants

Dr Rosemary Abbott

Dr Rosemary Abbott has 40 years experience as a teacher librarian in Victorian school libraries. She began her career in the Victorian government school system, later moving to the independent sector. She was, for many years, the Director of Learning Resources/Library at Loreto Mandeville Hall in Melbourne. Under her leadership, the library was a hub of learning for students from ELC to Year 12. Rosemary and her team designed and delivered an extensive reading program, research skills workshops and provided high quality online resources for all users of the library.

During her time in this role, Rosemary also competed a Masters of Business in IT at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Her thesis investigated the factors influencing the successful automation of school libraries in Victoria. In 2006, she embarked upon a PhD through the Education faculty at Monash University. Her doctoral research investigated teachers’ willingness to change practice through the use of digital technologies. Its focus was the role of trust, relationships and teacher identity in the change process.

Rosemary has presented papers at a number of conferences, including School Library Association of Victoria, Edutech, and Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria. She has published a number of articles relating to her doctoral research, including a refereed article in Australian Educational Computing, and in Synergy, SLAV’s online journal. She is currently Reviews Editor for Synergy.

Rosemary is a member of the School Library Association of Victoria and the Australian College of Educators.

Dr Susan La Marca

Dr Susan La Marca is a consultant in the areas of children’s and young adult literature and school libraries and currently the Executive Officer of the School Library Association of Victoria. Susan has held a number of positions of responsibility in various schools, most recently  Head of Library and Information Services at Genazzano FCJ College in Melbourne, and has worked in the tertiary sector.  

Susan has been the editor of Synergy, the research focused journal of the School Library Association of Victoria, since its inception in 2003. In 2010 she was awarded SLAVs John Ward Award for an outstanding contribution to the profession of school librarianship.  She was the CBCA Book of the Year Judge, representing Victoria, for all categories in 2006/7.

Her PhD thesis analysed the factors that contribute to the creation of a reading environment in secondary school libraries, she has presented, on this and the area of design, both nationally and internationally.

Susan has been a regular reviewer, commentator and author of teachers notes on books for young people for several decades. Susan has also edited a number of texts in the field of teacher-librarianship including Back to Books: Creating a Focus on Fiction (SLAV,1999), Books up Front: Investing in the Value of Reading (SLAV, 2001), Effective Learning Spaces: Inspiration for School Library Design (SLAV, 2003) and Rethink: Ideas for Inspiring School Library Design (SLAV, 2007). Susan is the co-author, with Dr Pam Macintyre, of Knowing Readers: Unlocking the Pleasures of Reading (SLAV, 2006) and wrote the book Designing the Learning Environment.  (ACER, 2010). Susan also edited, with Dr Pam Macintyre, the short story collections Things a Map Wont Show You: Stories from Australia and Beyond (Penguin Books, 2012) and Where the Shoreline Used to Be (Penguin Books, 2016). In 2021, with Dr Pam Macintyre, Susan compiled the SLAV publication Building a Library Reading Culture: A Selection of Articles from FYI and Synergy (SLAV, 2021).

Barbara Roach

Barbara Roach received the 2019 SLAV John Ward Award for her contribution to teaching and learning and her work raising the profile of the profession of teacher-librarian. At that time Barbara was leading the Information Services team at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College, Braybrook. The College was recognized by ACARA in 2019 for the significant increase in student outcomes in reading comprehension as measured by the 2017 Year 7 -2019 Year 9 NAPLAN test that year. The reading program which created such successful outcomes for students was a collaboration with the English teaching staff, but was developed, managed and driven most significantly by the teacher librarians and supported by other library staff.

Prior to Caroline Chisholm Catholic College Barbara led two other library teams St Paul’s High School (now MacKillop College) Port Macquarie and Mackillop, Werribee. Each library presented opportunities, challenges and learnings. Transformations in terms of physical and online spaces, developing programs and team building, required considerable planning and diligence to execute.

School culture is the critical element which needs understanding and consideration by the teacher librarian. Barbara has always been careful to listen and learn before proposing change. She sought ways to be included in leadership and took on extra duties as opportunities arose such as Curriculum Leader or Literacy team member. She believes that the closer the relationship between curriculum and library the stronger the school. Student well-being is also a major concern for libraries. Many students thrive within library circles, activities and student leadership roles they provide.

Barbara’s career shift into the role of Teacher Librarian came after twenty years of teaching mostly, English and Mathematics, holding several positions of responsibility in various school. She has also taught in some tertiary settings. Barbara completed a Graduate Diploma in Special Education (Learning Difficulties) after a few years of teaching and saw the role of the teacher librarian as significant in terms of reaching many students and staff in any school and offering huge potential to improve student learning outcomes.

This teaching experience informed Barbara’s twenty years of library practice. Her studies, continual professional development and collaborative approach has given her rich experience which she is eager to share. She has presented at SLAV conferences and published in SLAV journals.

Linda Twitchett

Linda has been a passionate educator in school libraries for thirty years, leading libraries in the independent schools sector in Victoria and internationally in Singapore.

She is committed to the view that school libraries continue to be important and relevant to their communities and has been a strong supporter of the contribution of SLAV to the role of school libraries.

Before following her career overseas Linda was an active member of SLAV as a branch member and for several years convened the Professional Development Committee. Linda was the proud recipient of the inaugural Innovator’s Grant in 2004, an award that continues to inspire and recognise innovative practice.

Through conference presentations and numerous articles in FYI and Synergy, Linda has contributed to the professional learning of school library staff in Victoria. Her relocation to Singapore has provided her with the opportunity to broaden this to the international school library community throughout Asia.

Changes brought by the development of technology have seen an evolution of learning resources, pedagogy and the demands these make for new learning spaces. Linda recognises the demands these place on school libraries and staff for review, flexibility and an awareness of new possibilities, having led the design or refurbishment of three libraries in her school.

The virtual library space and internet-based resources are a cornerstone of today’s school library. Linda’s experience includes the provision of a strong library presence online which embraces digital resources and their integration into learning and teaching. These support student literacy as well as the research process and information literacy.

Social media and networking are important means by which we can all keep abreast of innovation in library resources and practice, as we continually strive to master an ever-changing environment. In embracing these changes collaboratively, together we can inspire and motivate our students in their lifelong learning journey.

Further Information & Pricing

To discuss your specific needs, bookings, and pricing, please contact the SLAV office.

FYI: the journal for the information professional. FYI is the quarterly print publication from the School Library Association of Victoria.
Synergy (ISSN 1448-5716) is published twice annually (May and October) by the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV).

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