Job descriptions

Job descriptions for school library staff clarify their roles and responsibilities and clearly state expectations for supporting learners.

Why you need job descriptions

All school library staff need a written job description. This forms part of their employment contract with the school and is a legal requirement under Section 65 of the Employment Relations Act.

Employment Relations Act 2000 — form and content of individual employment agreement

Job descriptions:

  • clarify key roles and responsibilities for the management and operation of the school library
  • identify the skills and competencies needed to fulfil these roles, and
  • specify hours of work and reporting lines.

Managers can use job descriptions when they're setting performance objectives for their staff and to provide background information when negotiating pay.

Developing job descriptions for library positions

Job descriptions are usually drafted in consultation with the Principal and relevant staff. Use the examples we've provided to help you write job descriptions for your library staff.

What goes in a job description

A job description should include:

  • the position title
  • a brief description of the position
  • who the staff member reports to — the lines of responsibility both upwards and downwards
  • internal and external relationships — for example, Heads of Department and parents
  • hours of work or release time, if relevant
  • the key tasks and responsibilities
  • the qualifications, skills, knowledge, experience and personal qualities needed to do the job.

Both the Principal and the employee should sign and date the job description to say that they agree with its contents.

Skills and attributes for all members of the library team

The personal qualities, skills, and experience each person in your team needs will vary between schools and according to the role and its responsibilities. Examples include:

  • excellent written and oral communication skills
  • the ability to interact positively with students and staff, and work collaboratively in a team
  • a love of literature
  • a willingness to keep up-to-date with information technology and library trends
  • the ability to facilitate or cope with change.

Library roles and their responsibilities

  • Teacher Librarian (TL) or Teacher with Library Responsibility (TLR)

    The TL or TLR also has overall responsibility for the management of the school library. They ensure that there's a strong connection between the library, classroom programmes, the curriculum, the school community and wider library community.

    Their responsibilities include:

    • collaboration with teaching staff to coordinate and promote:
      • services and resources supporting inquiry learning, and
      • literacy programmes
    • developing the library's guiding documents including policies that align with the school's strategic goals
    • managing library staff
    • planning and coordinating collection development, including managing the library budget
    • using school data to inform library planning
    • guiding the development of the library’s online presence and physical environment
    • developing and maintaining systems and procedures
    • reporting to school management and the Board of Trustees
    • liaising and networking with external agencies and support groups.

    If your school doesn't have a TL or TLR, these responsibilities should be included in the library manager or librarian’s role — particularly liaison and collaboration with teaching staff.

  • Teacher Librarian (TL) or Teacher with Library Responsibility (TLR)

    The TL or TLR also has overall responsibility for the management of the school library. They ensure that there's a strong connection between the library, classroom programmes, the curriculum, the school community and wider library community.

    Their responsibilities include:

    • collaboration with teaching staff to coordinate and promote:
      • services and resources supporting inquiry learning, and
      • literacy programmes
    • developing the library's guiding documents including policies that align with the school's strategic goals
    • managing library staff
    • planning and coordinating collection development, including managing the library budget
    • using school data to inform library planning
    • guiding the development of the library’s online presence and physical environment
    • developing and maintaining systems and procedures
    • reporting to school management and the Board of Trustees
    • liaising and networking with external agencies and support groups.

    If your school doesn't have a TL or TLR, these responsibilities should be included in the library manager or librarian’s role — particularly liaison and collaboration with teaching staff.

  • Library Manager or Librarian

    As well as providing support for inquiry and literacy programmes, a Library Manager has significant management responsibility. Ideally, they'll have professional library qualifications.

    Their responsibilities for supporting learning include:

    • assisting students and staff to access and use resources
    • collaborating with teaching and library staff to support inquiry learning and literacy programmes, for example:
      • consulting with teaching staff about the reading needs of their students
      • helping individual students to find books to engage their interest, and
      • supporting students as readers.

    Their management responsibilities include:

    • developing the library's online presence
    • managing the day-to-day operations of the library
    • managing, developing and training library assistants, teacher aides, student librarians and volunteers
    • planning and managing the library budget
    • developing and managing the collection in consultation with staff and students
    • arranging displays and promotional events to encourage people to use the library
    • managing the integrated library system (ILS)
    • maintaining an up-to-date procedures or operations file
    • reporting to school management and the Board of Trustees
    • liaising and networking with external agencies and support groups.

    Job Description: School Library Manager (docx, 111KB)

  • Library Manager or Librarian

    As well as providing support for inquiry and literacy programmes, a Library Manager has significant management responsibility. Ideally, they'll have professional library qualifications.

    Their responsibilities for supporting learning include:

    • assisting students and staff to access and use resources
    • collaborating with teaching and library staff to support inquiry learning and literacy programmes, for example:
      • consulting with teaching staff about the reading needs of their students
      • helping individual students to find books to engage their interest, and
      • supporting students as readers.

    Their management responsibilities include:

    • developing the library's online presence
    • managing the day-to-day operations of the library
    • managing, developing and training library assistants, teacher aides, student librarians and volunteers
    • planning and managing the library budget
    • developing and managing the collection in consultation with staff and students
    • arranging displays and promotional events to encourage people to use the library
    • managing the integrated library system (ILS)
    • maintaining an up-to-date procedures or operations file
    • reporting to school management and the Board of Trustees
    • liaising and networking with external agencies and support groups.

    Job Description: School Library Manager (docx, 111KB)

  • Library Assistant

    A Library Assistant does all or most of the day-to-day tasks needed to run the library, usually under the direction of a TLR, TL, Library Manager or Librarian.

    Library assistants also liaise closely with teaching staff to provide library support for inquiry learning and literacy programmes.

    Responsibilities include:

    • helping to maintain and operate systems
    • preparing resources for use
    • contributing to collection development to support reading for leisure and information
    • maintaining the library environment and facilities
    • helping users in ways that support inquiry learning and reading for pleasure
    • contributing to promotional programmes that encourage people to use the library
    • liaising and networking with external agencies and support groups.

    A Library Assistant is expected to develop a clear understanding of the teaching and learning programmes and school curriculum.

    Job Description: School Library Assistant (docx, 111KB)

  • Library Assistant

    A Library Assistant does all or most of the day-to-day tasks needed to run the library, usually under the direction of a TLR, TL, Library Manager or Librarian.

    Library assistants also liaise closely with teaching staff to provide library support for inquiry learning and literacy programmes.

    Responsibilities include:

    • helping to maintain and operate systems
    • preparing resources for use
    • contributing to collection development to support reading for leisure and information
    • maintaining the library environment and facilities
    • helping users in ways that support inquiry learning and reading for pleasure
    • contributing to promotional programmes that encourage people to use the library
    • liaising and networking with external agencies and support groups.

    A Library Assistant is expected to develop a clear understanding of the teaching and learning programmes and school curriculum.

    Job Description: School Library Assistant (docx, 111KB)

  • Student Librarian or volunteer

    Student Librarians and volunteers help with many of the day-to-day tasks needed to run the library. While they don't get paid for their work, you could get them to sign an agreement so they know what they're doing and what they have committed themselves to.

    Some examples of tasks assigned to student librarians and volunteers are:

    • processing of resources, for example, covering, labelling and stamping
    • circulation of resources, such as issues, returns and reservations
    • returning items to the shelves and ensuring all shelved items are in correct location and sequence
    • contributions to the library's online presence, for example, posts on the library's Facebook page or contributions to the blog or website
    • assisting with creating imaginative displays to promote the collection or library events
    • helping other students and staff to access and use resources.
  • Student Librarian or volunteer

    Student Librarians and volunteers help with many of the day-to-day tasks needed to run the library. While they don't get paid for their work, you could get them to sign an agreement so they know what they're doing and what they have committed themselves to.

    Some examples of tasks assigned to student librarians and volunteers are:

    • processing of resources, for example, covering, labelling and stamping
    • circulation of resources, such as issues, returns and reservations
    • returning items to the shelves and ensuring all shelved items are in correct location and sequence
    • contributions to the library's online presence, for example, posts on the library's Facebook page or contributions to the blog or website
    • assisting with creating imaginative displays to promote the collection or library events
    • helping other students and staff to access and use resources.

Related content

Student librarian issuing a book

All rights reserved

Student librarians Find ideas and guidance to help you select, train and manage your team of student librarians.

Library guiding documents

Library guiding documents Find advice to help you create a set of library guiding documents. Your guiding documents help ensure that the library supports the school's educational goals, curriculum programmes, and student interests and needs.​