Services

Student in library looking at 'suggestion box'.

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Effective school libraries offer a range of services to support student learning and literacy, encourage reading for pleasure and well-being, and help create digitally literate students.

Effective services combine 4 key elements

Effective school library services combine 4 key elements that interact with each other:

  • place
  • collections
  • connections
  • access.

Why library services matter

Services are at the heart of what the library has and does. Your library services support teaching and learning across the curriculum, and improving literacy and reading engagement.

Service development should be guided by the needs and aspirations of your school community, knowledge from the research, and an understanding of library best practices. How your library services are developed, supported, and delivered, depends on leadership and expertise within your school.

Achievement is raised where access to the school library is flexibly scheduled, the library is staffed appropriately, librarians spend time collaborating with classroom teachers, technology augments the local collection and students use the library to learn and practice information skills.
— 'Powerful libraries make powerful learners: The Illinois study', Illinois School Library Media Association (2005)

What can you do to develop and deliver the library services your school community needs?

  • Service development

    • Use evidence from research and best practice, and feedback from your school community to inform service decisions.
    • Take into account the cultural values of all groups within the school community.
    • Design library services collaboratively — drawing on the expertise of your library team members, school management, and teachers —to ensure they meet your school community needs.
    • Find out whether services offered by other libraries and organisations within the community might complement or integrate with your school library services.
  • Service development

    • Use evidence from research and best practice, and feedback from your school community to inform service decisions.
    • Take into account the cultural values of all groups within the school community.
    • Design library services collaboratively — drawing on the expertise of your library team members, school management, and teachers —to ensure they meet your school community needs.
    • Find out whether services offered by other libraries and organisations within the community might complement or integrate with your school library services.
  • Service delivery

    • Deliver ‘just-in-time’ library services to meet users’ needs, in the locations that work best for students and staff.
    • Incorporate library services into school-wide initiatives, such as the use of inquiry models and processes, the development of digital literacy skills and a culture of reading for pleasure.
    • Offer library-led professional development opportunities for all staff, which raise awareness of how to access and use your library services, and draw on library staff knowledge and expertise to encourage students’ creativity and enable their participation.
  • Service delivery

    • Deliver ‘just-in-time’ library services to meet users’ needs, in the locations that work best for students and staff.
    • Incorporate library services into school-wide initiatives, such as the use of inquiry models and processes, the development of digital literacy skills and a culture of reading for pleasure.
    • Offer library-led professional development opportunities for all staff, which raise awareness of how to access and use your library services, and draw on library staff knowledge and expertise to encourage students’ creativity and enable their participation.
  • Key questions

    • Do you have a vision of what successful library services and library experiences will look like in your school community?
    • Does your library team have the leadership and expertise necessary to design and deliver the services your school community needs?
    • How effective are your library services in supporting teaching and learning, and developing digitally literate students?
    • How effective are your library services in supporting the achievement of your school’s literacy and reading goals, and creating a school-wide culture of reading for pleasure?
  • Key questions

    • Do you have a vision of what successful library services and library experiences will look like in your school community?
    • Does your library team have the leadership and expertise necessary to design and deliver the services your school community needs?
    • How effective are your library services in supporting teaching and learning, and developing digitally literate students?
    • How effective are your library services in supporting the achievement of your school’s literacy and reading goals, and creating a school-wide culture of reading for pleasure?