Colourful school library with chairs and bookshelves.

Effective school library spaces are designed to offer an exciting and welcoming environment for the school community, and experiences that impact positively on teaching and learning in the school.

Why your library spaces matter

Inclusive and inviting physical and virtual library spaces enable innovative teaching and learning, and extend access to information, resources and tools that the library provides to support student literacy and learning, and foster the enjoyment of reading.

The libraries of the 21st century provide a welcoming common space that encourages exploration, creation, and collaboration between students, teachers, and a broader community. They bring together the best of the physical and digital to create learning hubs. Ultimately, libraries will continue to inspire students to construct new knowledge and meaning from the world around them.
21st-century libraries: The learning commons, Beth Holland (2015)

How can you ensure your library is a welcoming and safe space that enables innovative and creative teaching and learning?

Your library environment

  • Create a climate where all students feel safe and secure.
  • Include your school community in the design of your library spaces, so that they respond to the community’s needs; and reflect and celebrate the diversity of the school community.
  • Include design features in your library spaces that stimulate interest and curiosity.

The physical library space

  • Allow students ownership of the space, and activities that take place there.
  • Use flexible furnishings so that spaces can be adapted to meet the teaching and learning needs of students and staff, and cater for activities involving parents, whānau, and the wider school community.
  • Create a layout with a range of spaces to encourage creativity, reading, collaboration and social engagement.
  • Provide technology within the library that is portable and enables students and staff to actively engage with information and literature.

The virtual library

  • Create an online space that enables access to library resources, information and services.
  • Ensure the virtual school library is a visible part of the school’s learning management systems and online presence.

Key questions

  • How well does the library space support the needs of students and staff, and the implementation of your curriculum?
  • What measures are in place to ensure that the library learning environment is inclusive and welcoming for all?
  • How accessible are library resources and services, both within the school day and after? How visible and accessible is the library online — within and beyond the school?

Place and environment
Your school library online
Reader-friendly environments