Library guiding documents

A set of library guiding documents helps ensure that your library supports the school's educational goals, curriculum programmes, and student interests and needs.

Why library guiding documents are important

Creating an effective school library requires strategic leadership. Your library's guiding documents record how you will lead and manage your library. They guide your decisions about library staffing, and developing your library collections and programmes.

Your library’s guiding documents include management statements, procedures and other documents such as your budget and annual report.

These documents reflect your unique school community. They show connections between the library and your school’s charter, strategic and annual plans.

Make reviewing your library’s guiding documents part of a regular review cycle. Keep them up-to-date so that they reflect any changes within your school. Your review can also take into account trends and developments in education, technology and library practice.

  • Developing your library guiding statement

    Your school library team drafts your library guiding statement. Input from teachers and the principal will help you achieve a clear statement with school-wide support.

    Gather background information about your school community and school-wide priorities, such as specific learning targets. Think about how well your school library reflects and supports these, and where there is room for improvement.

    School community profile

    What's in your library guiding statement

    Your school may already have a library policy or statement as part of its administration documents. Whether you're reviewing an existing document or developing a new one, we recommend you include the following statements.

    Rationale or purpose for the library

    A brief paragraph that states what the goals of the library are and why the library is important within your school community.

    Role of the library

    Bullet points covering the roles your library performs, such as how the library:

    • supports teaching and learning plans and programmes
    • promotes the enjoyment of reading
    • enables community involvement
    • shows commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi
    • fosters student wellbeing.

    Key functions

    Describe in more detail how your library:

    • supports reading and literacy, inquiry learning and the development of digital literacy
    • handles strategic changes
    • manages library finances
    • provides and manages library staff
    • manages the day-to-day operations of the library.

    Reading engagement

    Digital literacy

  • Developing your library guiding statement

    Your school library team drafts your library guiding statement. Input from teachers and the principal will help you achieve a clear statement with school-wide support.

    Gather background information about your school community and school-wide priorities, such as specific learning targets. Think about how well your school library reflects and supports these, and where there is room for improvement.

    School community profile

    What's in your library guiding statement

    Your school may already have a library policy or statement as part of its administration documents. Whether you're reviewing an existing document or developing a new one, we recommend you include the following statements.

    Rationale or purpose for the library

    A brief paragraph that states what the goals of the library are and why the library is important within your school community.

    Role of the library

    Bullet points covering the roles your library performs, such as how the library:

    • supports teaching and learning plans and programmes
    • promotes the enjoyment of reading
    • enables community involvement
    • shows commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi
    • fosters student wellbeing.

    Key functions

    Describe in more detail how your library:

    • supports reading and literacy, inquiry learning and the development of digital literacy
    • handles strategic changes
    • manages library finances
    • provides and manages library staff
    • manages the day-to-day operations of the library.

    Reading engagement

    Digital literacy

  • Documenting your library management and procedures

    Along with your library guiding statement, we recommend keeping separate documents for specific library functions. How much detail you include and the formats you use, such as lists or flowcharts, depends on your own systems and processes.

    The documents should outline:

    • the principles used to guide your decisions about your library and its collection
    • who's responsible for what
    • what steps they need to take
    • which forms or documents to use.

    Include the process and schedule for reviewing your library procedures in the documentation.

    The Australian School Library Association (ASLA) provides a manual and a template to help you develop and document your school library procedures.

    Policy template (doc) — Australian School Library Association
    A Manual for Developing Policies and Procedures in Australian School Library Resource Centres — Australian School Library Association

    What's in your library management documents

    These documents guide your decisions about important aspects of your library. They also provide instructions to help library staff with the day-to-day operation of the library.

    Collection management

    The tasks involved with collection management become a cycle where each task relies on the other, including:

    • processes for collection assessment and planning
    • criteria and processes for resource selection, curation and weeding
    • processes for acquisition of new items, including donations
    • how you will handle challenges or complaints about the collection
    • responsibilities for each of the above tasks.

    Collections and resources — information to guide you through each stage of the collection management cycle.

    Lending

    Include:

    • borrowing limits
    • loan periods
    • how you deal with items that are overdue, lost or damaged.

    Library use

    Include:

    • opening hours
    • how you arrange class, group or individual student visits to the library
    • use of the library space for events
    • use of technology in the library — make sure the information aligns with other school-wide documents such as Acceptable Use or BYOD policies.

    Getting started in your library — an operations checklist helps you record information about the day-to-day management of your library.

  • Documenting your library management and procedures

    Along with your library guiding statement, we recommend keeping separate documents for specific library functions. How much detail you include and the formats you use, such as lists or flowcharts, depends on your own systems and processes.

    The documents should outline:

    • the principles used to guide your decisions about your library and its collection
    • who's responsible for what
    • what steps they need to take
    • which forms or documents to use.

    Include the process and schedule for reviewing your library procedures in the documentation.

    The Australian School Library Association (ASLA) provides a manual and a template to help you develop and document your school library procedures.

    Policy template (doc) — Australian School Library Association
    A Manual for Developing Policies and Procedures in Australian School Library Resource Centres — Australian School Library Association

    What's in your library management documents

    These documents guide your decisions about important aspects of your library. They also provide instructions to help library staff with the day-to-day operation of the library.

    Collection management

    The tasks involved with collection management become a cycle where each task relies on the other, including:

    • processes for collection assessment and planning
    • criteria and processes for resource selection, curation and weeding
    • processes for acquisition of new items, including donations
    • how you will handle challenges or complaints about the collection
    • responsibilities for each of the above tasks.

    Collections and resources — information to guide you through each stage of the collection management cycle.

    Lending

    Include:

    • borrowing limits
    • loan periods
    • how you deal with items that are overdue, lost or damaged.

    Library use

    Include:

    • opening hours
    • how you arrange class, group or individual student visits to the library
    • use of the library space for events
    • use of technology in the library — make sure the information aligns with other school-wide documents such as Acceptable Use or BYOD policies.

    Getting started in your library — an operations checklist helps you record information about the day-to-day management of your library.