Understanding school libraries

Student librarians issuing books.

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Find out what makes an effective school library, and why it matters. Discover the latest thinking and research about the role of the library in teaching and learning.

The school library is part of your school’s teaching and learning environment. It provides resources and services that support students, staff, families and whānau. Your library’s resources, physical space, and staff have tremendous potential to make a difference to students’ achievement, educational equity, and their social and emotional well-being.

Contents

Two boys reading in their school library.

Why school libraries matter

School libraries matter because they can help every member of your school community — students, staff, families, and whānau — gain new knowledge, skills, and dispositions for learning and personal development that they will use throughout their lives.
Books displayed on shelves with background mural of planets in space with the words: 'Get carried away by a good book'

Purpose of the school library

The purpose of your school library is to help every member of your school community — students, staff, families and whānau — gain new knowledge, skills, and dispositions for learning and personal development that they will use throughout their lives.
Library research material.

The pedagogy of the library

School library pedagogy that is consistent with your school's existing pedagogy contributes to students' educational success. Find out about the role that sound library pedagogy and effective library services can play in supporting teaching and learning.
Graphic of school library-related words

School library futures

School libraries in New Zealand continue to evolve. If your library is to remain relevant to your school community and be a place of transformative learning, you'll need to respond to change.
Students working in their school library

Importance of the school library in learning — the research

Research shows that school libraries have a positive impact on student literacy and learning outcomes. Read a selection of research reports illustrating the effectiveness of library services that are aligned with the school’s vision and learning goals.

School Libraries in Aotearoa New Zealand — survey reports

Read reports from an ongoing series of national surveys about school libraries in Aotearoa New Zealand. The survey series started in 2018.