Report: School libraries and school library services in New Zealand Aotearoa

In May 2018, National Library's Services to Schools launched a nationwide survey of school libraries in Aotearoa New Zealand. This was a joint project conducted with SLANZA and LIANZA.

More than 550 people took part in the survey from approximately 20% of schools in New Zealand. We’ve analysed their responses, and the results are available now.

Key findings

The survey found that there are great variations in the management and operation of school libraries throughout New Zealand. Between different school types, these variations relate particularly to library services involving technology, library environments, and library staffing levels.

However, there were also some commonalities. Many respondents from all school types expressed a desire to engage more with parents and whānau, and the school and wider communities.

Responses to questions about the role and importance of the library indicate a widely-held view that the school library has an important part to play in supporting literacy development for students, learning across the curriculum, and student well-being.

Example report data — bar graph of responses to the question: 'What are the most important roles of the school library?'
Some findings from the report.

Using the survey report

Last year’s survey gives us baseline information that we can use to track changes and trends in the future. For now though, here are some ideas to consider as you read the report.

  • Use the sections about library services to reflect on what your school library offers (or could provide in the future) to support student literacy, learning, and well-being. Are there things you could improve or new services you might offer?
  • What staffing, leadership and expertise, or financial support might you need to deliver great library services for your school community? Some of the report findings are reported by school type so that you can compare your situation with other similar schools.
  • If the report inspires you to find out more about school library services, school library development, or developing the expertise of staff working in your library, you’ll find lots of useful information in the Services to Schools section of our website, or get in touch with us for advice and support.
  • The findings show that there are some areas of need. For example, there are library services which some schools don't offer, but staff say they'd like to. For our part, we'll use what we’ve learned from the survey as we develop our services and support to help address these needs.

Areas for further research

There's scope for follow-up research about school libraries and school library services that weren't included in this survey. Many people who took part in the survey said they'd like to be involved in further research. Some ideas that we — or researchers in education and library studies — might investigate in future include:

  • library use — for example, at students’ choice, and teacher- or librarian-led sessions
  • the impact of the school library on reading, achievement, and well-being generally
  • barriers to effective school library provision.

Read the report on our website

New Zealand research — School libraries and school library services in New Zealand Aotearoa 

By Miriam Tuohy

Miriam is the Senior Specialist (School Library Development) for Services to Schools.

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Naomi Caldwell October 16th at 5:24AM

Your study results are intriguing and valuable. Would it be possible for me to receive permission to use the survey as part of a study I am conducting in the "Black Belt Region" of Alabama, United States. I am an associate professor and coordinator of the library education media online program, Alabama State University, College of Education, Department of Instructional Support Programs. Prior to coming here I worked in the National Library of New Zealand, as a Collection Management Librarian (2013) and entirely enjoyed working as part of a team that ordered digital and print materials for school libraries in New Zealand. Any help that you can provide me with my study is kindly appreciated. Kia, Naomi Caldwell