Sign with 'Our place to learn' and 'Welcome to the library'.

Effective access is about actively encouraging people to use the library, and making it easy for them. Your library staff, services, technology, policies and procedures should all enable and encourage access, not limit it.

Why access matters

Easy and equitable access to all that the library offers enables your school community to make good use of your library’s services, resources, physical space, and staff expertise. Improving access is, in part, about removing barriers so that everyone feels included and supported to use the library.

The school library plays a unique role in promoting, protecting, and educating about intellectual freedom. It serves as a point of voluntary access to information and ideas and as a learning laboratory for students as they acquire critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed in a pluralistic society.
Access to resources and services in the school library, American Library Association (2014)

How can you ensure equitable access to the library’s services and resources for members of the school community?

Making access easy for everyone

  • Understand the diversity of your school community, and develop library staff expertise to meet a broad range of needs, including students affected by disability or disadvantage, or those who need learning support.
  • Work proactively to remove barriers to learning and participation for all students by ensuring equity and freedom of access to the library facilities, resources, and services.
  • Develop library policies, systems, and procedures that are learner- and reader-centered, and focus on making it easy for people to find, access, and use library curated resources.
  • Establish opening times and a flexible approach to use of the library space, that suit students, their parents, and whānau to allow equitable access for students, staff, and the wider school community.
  • When the library is open, have library staff or other adults available to help students, parents and whānau to find, access, and use what they need.
  • Create an online space that connects members of your school community to resources — in the library and elsewhere — that support reading, research and inquiry learning, and contribute to student well-being.

Key questions

  • Do your library policies, systems, and procedures allow and encourage students to choose their own reading materials, and freely access information, relating to their particular interests and needs?
  • Does your library provide access to resources and technology for students who would otherwise be disadvantaged?
  • Is your library open for students, their parents and whānau at times that suit them — before, during and at the end of the school day?

Designing library spaces
Reader-friendly policies
Your library's digital collection