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Report — 2019 survey of school libraries in Aotearoa New Zealand

March 2nd, 2020 By Miriam Tuohy

In August 2019, National Library's Services to Schools conducted a nationwide survey of New Zealand school libraries. This was our second joint survey with SLANZA (School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) and LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa).

The 2019 survey builds on baseline information we gathered in 2018 about the nature of school libraries and school library services. This year's questions were designed to explore in greater detail two key aspects of school library provision:

  • school library staffing — including employment arrangements, support and continuing professional development, and remuneration
  • school library collections — including information about collection development budgets, format types, and holdings.

Findings in brief

Table of 2019 school libraries survey findings

Findings vary because each school is unique

Most of the findings in the report present average responses aggregated by school type, and there are obvious variations from one type to another. However, the raw data shows that within school types, there can also be a wide variation in responses. This is a reflection of the self-governing nature of New Zealand schools. Each school Board of Trustees decides the levels of staffing, funding, and other resources invested in their school library to help meet the goals and aspirations they have for learners in their school community.

Comments made powerful reading

Many respondents wrote comments to add context or share their personal experiences. We have analysed the comments to quantify and summarize the sentiments and ideas expressed. As you can imagine, the comments about employment, in particular, elicited some very emotional responses that were by turns heart-warming and heart-breaking to read. Those words speak powerfully on their own, and we have included many of them throughout the report.

Library staff expertise often underutilised

The survey findings show that in many schools with library staff, their expertise as information and reading professionals is underutilised. There is potential for library staff to provide further support for teachers, particularly around:

  • curriculum resourcing
  • sharing teaching relating to information literacy skills
  • strategies and resources for improving reading engagement and literacy development.

Using the report

It is important to stress that the survey findings are not presented as recommended targets or benchmarks. However, they do offer a simple comparison with similar schools for anyone involved or interested in your school library development, as a starting point for further discussion.

Our support for schools

Along with SLANZA and LIANZA, we will continue to support library staff to develop the expertise they need and empower them to advocate for greater library involvement in teaching and learning within their school community.

You can find out more about upcoming courses and events for all school staff on our Professional development and support page.

Read the report on our website

Read the full report: Importance of the school library in learning — the research

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