What you can borrow

Books from National Library's school lending service on display at a workshop.

Find out about our borrowing options and the types of books schools can borrow through their school loan coordinator to support teaching and learning, and reading for pleasure.

We offer 3 borrowing options for schools

National Library's 3 options for borrowing give you flexibility about when and how you can borrow books to support inquiry learning and reading engagement in your school.

  • Topics selection requests — ask our expert librarians to select the best books for your students based on what you tell us about your topic or inquiry and your students' needs.
  • Extra reading requests — once a term, ask us to select extra books to engage students with reading.
  • Specific title requests — choose and request specific books from our lending collections.

We encourage schools to use topics selection and extra reading requests as their main way of borrowing books from us.

What home educators can borrow

Topics selection requests

Each term, school loan coordinators can use our online lending form to send us a number of requests for books to inspire and inform your students’ inquiry and develop their love of reading.

In each request, you tell us information such as:

  • what you need books for (i.e. learning area or reading, curriculum topic)
  • your students' reading ages and year levels
  • the number of books you'd like.

Our librarians then use this information to guide their selection of books for your loan. They aim to give you a rich variety of formats and genres that:

  • will engage your students
  • make the most of your school's total allocation.

Number of requests depends on your school's allocation

The number of topics selection requests your school can make and how many books you can have depends on your school roll. This is called your school topics selection allocation.

School topics selection allocation according to roll size

School roll size Number of topics requests per item term Maximum number of books per term
0-49 4 98
50-99 5 120
100-149 6 143
150-249 7 188
250-349 8 233
350-449 9 278
450-549 10 311
550-649 11 334
650-749 12 356
750-849 13 379
850-949 14 401
950-1049 15 424
1050-3500 16 446

Extra reading requests

Once a term, you can also request extra books to encourage reading for pleasure. These requests give schools even more books — up to 100 titles over and above your topics selection allocation.

Our librarians will choose great books to match your school profile (for example, primary or secondary, co-educational or single-sex). You can ask them to select 25, 50, 75, or 100 books to send to your school.

Specific title requests

Use this borrowing option when you need to request specific books to support individual students or small groups.

There are no restrictions on the number of specific title requests you can make or when you can make them. However, this option takes more time for our librarians to process, so we encourage you to use topics selection requests where possible, particularly if you need a large number of books.

We're unable to provide multiple copies of a title (including class sets).

When to request and return books

You need to send us topics selection and extra reading requests during each term's loan request period to make sure books arrive when you require them. You can request specific titles anytime.

Books are generally due back to us at the end of the school term you borrowed them for.

Dates to request or return books

Types of books, collections you can borrow from

We have books suitable for students at every year level — from year 0 to year 13. Our school lending collections offer a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books for different reading ages, home languages, and reading needs.

Books in our lending collections for schools

Request books now

Request early! Demand will affect the availability of books for loans. For example, Treaty of Waitangi resources are in high demand in the period leading up to Waitangi Day.

The earlier school loan coordinators request books, the more likely you are to receive them, especially for high-demand topics.

Quick guide — gives an overview of how to use our service.

Request books using our online form

Any questions or need help?