What drives change in school libraries?
School libraries are part of the wider education and information landscape and are naturally affected by changes in those areas.
School libraries of the future will be built on a strong foundation of evidence-based practice, with student learning as their focus. Your school library's growth and development will be strategically planned and aligned with your school's core values.
Key library services — including support for reading, research and inquiry — will remain as important as ever. But new technologies may change the way libraries provide those services.
Your library's collections, services and programmes have to adapt to meet the changing needs of your school community.
In 'School libraries, building capacity for learning in the 21C', Lyn Hay and Colleen Foley discuss their research and findings about how student learning is enhanced through school libraries stating, 'While it is difficult to predict what school libraries might look like in the future, we believe research, professional practice and current trends can inform the journey'.
There are many questions we need to carefully consider as we think about the future of school libraries.
- Will school libraries exist in 20 years time? Why or why not?
- What are the strategic goals of the library of the future?
- Who works in the school library of the future and what is their primary role?
- How do the staff in the future library enable and facilitate learning?
- What does the school library of the future look like?
- Where will the library fit in the educational landscape?
There are no easy answers to these questions. But we believe that school libraries will evolve and be successful if they :
- build capacity in their staffing and their facilities
- maintain currency in pedagogical and technological developments
- creatively design and facilitate new learning opportunities in collaboration with teaching staff
- collect and use evidence to inform practice
- continue to cultivate a strong reading culture in their schools
- provide collections in many formats, with digital content available within and outside school at all times, and print collections made readily available with non-restrictive lending policies.
Trends affecting school libraries
These educational trends will impact on school library development. School libraries have much to offer in support of these trends.
The growth of connections and partnerships
The way your library connects with other libraries and institutions may change.
- School libraries will enable learners to connect with resources available through other libraries and organisations, as part of a wider knowledge network.
- Library systems and collections may be shared through relationships with other schools, libraries and learning institutions for example, Communities of Learning.
Introduction of student-centered approaches to learning
Changes to the way students learn will affect your library services.
- As students have more agency — choice, autonomy, and self-direction — in their learning, school libraries can help staff and students curate resources for their own personalised learning pathways.
- As schools implement approaches such as Universal Design for Learning, the library can support this by providing collections of materials to meet a wide range of subjects, interests and abilities.
The proliferation of Open Education Resources (OER)
Teachers who include OER learning will need support from library staff.
- As the number of OER platforms, tools and resources grows, library staff need the curation skills (including finding, evaluating, and sharing content) required to help schools make best use of them.
- Library staff can provide professional development and support for teachers wanting to integrate OER into their curriculum.
Rethinking learning environments, including library spaces
As classrooms evolve into more fluid learning environments, a centrally managed school library can maximise the availability of resources throughout the school.
- The library’s whole-school approach to supporting the curriculum and enjoyment of reading ensures there is a range and quantity of materials to suit students at all levels.
- A central library space ensures there is equity of access to those materials.
Find out more
Ten Trends 2016 — Core Education
NMC/CoSN Horizon Report 2016 K-12 Edition — describes trends and technologies that will drive education change in schools over the next 5 years