School Libraries in Aotearoa New Zealand — 2018

Inside a school library with books on display.

The 2018 survey findings describe the provision of school libraries and school libraries services, how school libraries are resourced and how they are staffed.

Executive summary

Scope and objectives

The National Library Services to Schools, LIANZA and SLANZA surveyed all schools in New Zealand from 4 May to 25 May 2018, to gather baseline information about the nature of school libraries and school library provision.

Schools make their own decisions about the resources and facilities they offer to support their curriculum; there is no government mandate requiring New Zealand schools to provide library spaces or services. Consequently, there are many different models of library provision within New Zealand schools.

Summary of findings

The survey identified that there is great variation between individual schools as to the management and operation of school libraries throughout New Zealand.

Clear differences between school types relate particularly to:

  • the provision of services involving technology, including systems and technology for discovering and accessing library resources, information and services
  • library environments, and
  • library staffing levels.

However, there are also commonalities, including:

  • largely similar responses across school types to questions about the role and importance of the library — indicating a widely-held view that the school library has an important part to play in supporting literacy development for students, learning across the curriculum, and student wellbeing
  • An expressed desire – across all school types – to engage more with parents and whānau, and the school and wider community.


As a result of the survey, we recommend that National Library Services to Schools, LIANZA, and SLANZA — both individually and collaboratively:

  • communicate with stakeholders the findings relating to the importance and value of school libraries
  • use it to inform service development that addresses the needs the survey has identified
  • use information from the survey as a catalyst for further research about school library provision in New Zealand, by working collaboratively with others in the library and education sector
  • plan to survey schools again in future, in order to track changes from one year to another, and to deepen our understanding of areas identified for particular focus.

Download the 2018 survey report

School libraries and school library services in New Zealand Aotearoa (pdf, 2.9MB).