Have you heard of the Great Aussie Book Count?

By Amanda Shay

Learn about the Great Aussie Book Count and how the Educational Lending Right (ELR) scheme benefits your school library.

The Australian Lending Rights Scheme is an important scheme that ensures Australian creators and publishers receive compensation for the free use of their books in Australian libraries. The scheme, managed by the Australian Government’s Office for the Arts, has two components, Educational Lending Rights (ELR) for school, TAFE and university libraries, and Public Lending Rights (PLR), for public libraries. On behalf of ELR, Education Services Australia (ESA) delivers the Great Aussie Book Count which focuses on Australian school libraries. Each year, around 1,000 schools across a broad selection of primary, secondary and F–12 government, Catholic and Independent schools from across all states and territories are invited to participate.

Which books are in your collections? The 2022 count discovered that the most commonly available titles in school libraries are:

1. Macbeth by William Shakespeare, edited by Jo Ryan (SCIS no. 1188679)

2. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, edited by Jo Ryan (SCIS no. 1187099)

3. The happiest refugee by Anh Do (SCIS no. 1477934)

4. A midsummer night’s dream by William Shakespeare, edited by Brian Keyte (SCIS no. 841837)

5. Deadly Unna by Phillip Gwynne (SCIS no. 935400)

6. Blueback by Tim Winton (SCIS no. 1397113)

7. Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta (SCIS no. 1311437)

8. Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda (SCIS no. 1213019)

9. My place by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins (SCIS no. 1378417)

10. Storm boy by Colin Thiele (SCIS no. 1124846)

What is the Great Aussie Book Count?

To break it down , the Great Aussie Book Count is a survey, but it is not surveying your school or your school’s student body. Instead, it is estimating how many books of certain titles are held across Australian schools. It starts with a list of eligible book titles, which are then cross-referenced with the book counts from participating school libraries, and then it is extrapolated how many copies of that title there would be across all schools.

This benefits your school library in that the ELR program helps financially compensate Australian content creators, so they can continue to create more amazing books to help shape the minds of future generations.

Each year, those schools that participate in Great Aussie Book Count are also asked for their feedback. From the feedback received, we learnt that 27% of staff that completed the survey were library officers, 26% were teacher librarians and 20% were library technicians. Others who completed the count included librarians and school administrative staff.

The feedback from participants showed that 100% of respondents said that the Great Aussie Book Count was not time-consuming, and that 37% were able to complete the book count survey in less than five minutes. We also discovered that 61% of respondents were already familiar with the ELR program.

One of the great perks of providing feedback is that your school goes into the running for a $150 voucher. Congratulations to The Cathedral School, Townsville, and their library officer, Kim Kasteel, who won the 2022 prize. This was Kim’s first year doing the count.

ESA is always keen to hear suggestions from library staff about how ELR’s Great Aussie Book Count can be improved. If you would like to offer any advice, please get in touch with us at: [email protected].

Resources for the Great Aussie Book Count can be found on the ESA website. The Australian Lending Right Schemes website provides details on how the survey supports book creators.

If your school is selected to participate in the 2023 Great Aussie Book Count, we do hope you’ll take part and help us support Australian book creators so they can continue to do what they do best: make great books!

Amanda Shay

Manager of Subscription Services

Education Services Australia

Amanda Shay is the Manager of Subscription Services at Education Services Australia (ESA). ESA have been delivering the ELR School Library Survey since 2000.