Introduction to the framework

Desk with books on library trends and research.

The school library is a central hub supporting student learning and well-being, and connecting students and staff members, parents and whānau. Find out what an effective library looks like and why it matters.

Why does having an effective school library matter?

Your school library can help every member of your school community gain new knowledge, skills, and dispositions for learning and personal development that they will use throughout their lives.

An effective school library is a place of inspiration — it is a safe place, that values freedom and equity of access, fosters well-being, and enables creativity. Effective library services that respond to users’ needs enrich your school’s teaching and learning programmes, support literacy development, and help create a school-wide culture of agentic lifelong learning and the love of reading.

Raising achievement for Māori learners is a continuing priority for education in New Zealand. Schools must incorporate culturally inclusive practices into how their library services are developed and delivered, so that the library plays its part in supporting Māori learners to develop the skills and capabilities they need to achieve greater success.

The National Library’s Services to Schools' vision is that young people have access to effective and connected libraries and library learning environments that support their development as readers and digitally literate learners.

There is no government mandate requiring New Zealand schools to provide library spaces or services; schools must make their own decisions about the library resources and facilities they offer to support their curriculum. Consequently, there are many different models of school library provision within New Zealand schools. Across these many different models, there are some common features.

Features of effective school libraries

For students, an effective school library:

  • offers a wide range of services related to their interests and learning, and supports them to use these services
  • supports them to develop their ability to work with information and technology to support their learning
  • provides opportunities to develop, extend and share their love of reading with others in many ways
  • supports and allows them to demonstrate and apply their creativity in the library and in wider contexts
  • values their input, and actively involves them in developing and sometimes leading library and reading initiatives
  • is both a social space and a learning environment where they feel secure and safe.

For the wider school community, an effective school library:

  • includes and enables parents and whānau to support their children with school reading initiatives
  • contributes to enriching the reading experiences of all learners
  • ensures that school staff are informed about, and can contribute to developing a vision for the library
  • supports all staff to feel empowered to help students develop digital skills.

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