Shelving guidelines for your school library

A collection of bright picture books.

​Find help and advice about shelving styles for storing and displaying your school library resources. Download our step-by-step guide to help you choose the best shelving options for your library and calculate what you’ll need.​

Planning your shelving layout

Types of library shelving include wall-mounted, free-standing and roll-away shelves. Different shelving styles give you options for storing and displaying your library resources. They also let you position shelving to create a welcoming and inclusive environment.

When you're planning changes to your library shelving, it can be helpful to think about these questions.

  • Can you use face-out displays and shelving accessories such as signage to attract readers and engage learners?
  • Will your shelving work with comfortable seating and flexible spaces for reading and other activities?
  • Can your shelving make it easy for library users to find what they need?
  • Do you need extra shelving for resources borrowed from elsewhere, such as National Library Services to Schools?
  • Will your shelving choices contribute to the aesthetics of the library?

Find inspiration for your shelving

For inspiration and practical ideas:

  • visit recently remodelled libraries near you to find ideas
  • use suppliers’ websites to see what they offer — check the styles of shelving they have to suit books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, CDs and games.

Designing your shelving

Designing library spaces — has advice about creating an innovative library learning environment. You'll need to consider this before making decisions about your shelving.

Universal Design for Learning — can be used to help design library environments that support diverse learning needs.

Calculating your shelving requirements

Once you have ideas about the type of shelving you want, you can plan its location, layout and design.

Shelving guidelines for school libraries (pdf, 1.6MB) provides a step-by-step guide to help you work out what shelving you need. The guide includes:

  • pictures of different shelving styles used in New Zealand school libraries
  • charts to help you calculate how much shelving you'll need
  • advice about accessories, such as book ends, display stands and way-finding tools.

School library suppliers list — includes shelving suppliers and their contact details.