School libraries improve student outcomes
Your school library encourages curiosity, innovation and problem-solving. It is integral to the cultural and social life of the school. The school library is a central point for all kinds of reading, cultural activities, access to information, knowledge building, deep thinking and lively discussion.
Research shows the significant difference well-resourced libraries can make to student learning outcomes.
School libraries impact studies — studies conducted by the Library Research Service of Colorado State Library and other researchers.
Your library’s collections, services and environment are all designed to help your school meet its targets and goals for raising student achievement. Record your vision and principles for managing your library in your school's library guiding documents.
Library guiding documents
'We hope that libraries will always exist as places for learners to find information, resources, services, and instruction. But formats, technologies, learning needs, and our schools are evolving. And so are students themselves. Our entire information and communication landscapes have shifted — and this shift will only continue.'
— Valenza & Johnston (October 2009)
Enriching teaching and learning programmes
The school library is uniquely positioned to take a school- and curriculum-wide view of resourcing and technology for learning. Library staff are valuable members of curriculum planning and instruction teams within the school. They have a broad knowledge of inquiry models, information texts and tools, and literature to suit students at all levels. They also work with individual staff and students to understand their particular information or reading needs, then help them access the materials they need.
Supporting inquiry learning
"The school library provides information and ideas that are fundamental to functioning successfully in today's information and knowledge-based society. The school library equips students with lifelong learning skills and develops the imagination, enabling them to live as responsible citizens."
— International Federation of Library Association's (IFLA) Manifesto (1999)
Supporting literacy and reading
School libraries are places for learning and thinking. They play a key role in supporting and developing literacy and the enjoyment of reading. As Joy Cowley writes, 'A sanctuary, a mine of treasure, a house of maps to secret lives in secret worlds … – the library became my other home.'
Reading engagement — contains strategies and ideas for creating a reader-friendly library.
The library is an integral part of the cultural and social life of your school. It can be a central point for people to read, join in cultural activities, and access information.
Your library team understands what makes your school community unique. Library staff develop collections and services, and create a place that reflects and welcomes the diverse readers and learners within your school community.
School community profile
School library spaces welcome people in
The library’s physical and digital spaces connect readers and learners to their peers, to others within the school and the wider community, or even globally. The library welcomes people in and provides a safe space for them to be. This is true of both the physical and virtual library environments.
With a flexible multi-use approach, your library’s physical space enables a range of activities including quiet reading, study, collaboration, performance or community events.
Online library services can change the way your school community accesses the information resources, stories, technology and support it needs. They make these things available beyond the school walls and the school day.
Designing library spaces
School libraries bring information together
School libraries are unique but they're also part of a much wider information landscape. The school library has connections with other libraries and can use them to access information on behalf of your learners.
The benefits of these connections with other libraries include:
- providing access to more sources of print and digital materials to support reading and inquiry learning
- offering support for whole families to improve reading and literacy skills, and confidence
- improving achievement through involvement in other library programmes such as public library Summer Reading initiatives which have been shown to reduce the 'summer reading slide', increase literacy levels and help develop a love of reading.
Supporting students: the educational contribution of Australia's public libraries (pdf)
Collections and resources
Digital resources and guides