Work with teachers to plan your requests for books

School loan coordinator and teacher using a laptop to enter request details into National Library's online lending form.

Gather information from teachers and your library team about the books they need. Work out how you can get the most from your school's loan allocation, then you can request books online.

Help teachers understand the lending process

One of your important roles as your school's loan coordinator is to explain the lending service to teachers. Arrange a time with teachers to talk about the service before or during their planning meetings.

Teachers need to know:

  • that you can request books for them every term so their students have new resources for learning and reading for pleasure each term
  • what information to give you so you can request the type of books teachers need for learning — we have some Word requirement forms to help you gather this information
  • when you need the information so you can request books at the right time — check our loan request periods and coordinate dates with teachers as they plan for the term.
Diagram illustrating the lending process. See 'Diagram description' below.
  • Diagram description

    A flow diagram showing steps within the lending process as follows:

    Every term

    1. Work with teachers to plan your requests.
    2. Create and submit requests online.
    3. Use the books in the library, classrooms, or at home.
    4. Return books when they're due back.

    As needed

    • Set up your school's loan coordinators when staff change.
    • Buy NZ Post ticket books when you need more.

Diagram description

A flow diagram showing steps within the lending process as follows:

Every term

  1. Work with teachers to plan your requests.
  2. Create and submit requests online.
  3. Use the books in the library, classrooms, or at home.
  4. Return books when they're due back.

As needed

  • Set up your school's loan coordinators when staff change.
  • Buy NZ Post ticket books when you need more.

Make loan requests part of your school's regular planning

Loan request periods open before each term starts so that you can request books early.

Dates to request or return books

Find out about the planning cycle in your school to see how this will work with Services to Schools’ loan request periods. It’s helpful to set up a timeline for working through the lending process so that everyone knows what needs to happen and when.

What you can borrow

Find out what's needed to support student learning

In a small school, all staff may meet to plan the inquiry topics and literacy focus for the coming term. In this case, the whole staff can decide together what resources they need.

In a larger school, the planning and decision making may happen in teaching teams, syndicates, or department groups. In this case, ask someone from each group to feedback to you after their meetings. Ask your school's literacy leader, library team, or English department staff about what resources they need to support and engage students in reading.

Use our requirements forms to gather details for your online order

Our 2 requirements forms can help you collect all the information you need to request books online. Adapt them to suit your needs or create your own (e.g. set up and share a Google form) to gather teachers’ requirements:

On the back of the forms, there are examples of requests or when you might use the particular requests.

Information for your school's topics selections

The number of topics selection requests your school can make and how many books you can have each term depends on your school's topics selection allocation.

Topics selection requests

For each topics selection request, you need to specify a learning area and strand, but you can also request a selection for reading engagement.

Before you can enter a request online, you'll need to gather information from your teachers and library team about:

  • the curriculum learning area and strand, including a brief description and any specific aspects of the topic you want resources for
  • the reading ages, year levels, and number of students the request will support
  • the maximum number of books you'd like for this request, and what we should do if we can't provide as many as you'd like.

Our librarians will use this information to select books that match what your school needs.

Topics selection and extra reading requirements form (docx, 91KB) — will help you gather the information you need from teachers and your library team.

Number of books for extra reading

You can have even more books to support reading engagement — an extra 25, 50, 75, or 100 books each term over and above your school allocation.

Extra reading requests

Ask teachers if they'd like extra reading books and, if so, how many. You can combine their requests up to a maximum of 100 extra reading books for your school.

Information for specific titles requests

You can also request that we send specific books to you.

Specific title requests

To request a specific book, you first need to find it in the National Library catalogue and check that a borrowing copy is available.

Ask teachers for the title and author, when they need the book by, and any other information that can help you find the right item in the catalogue, such as:

  • the ISBN if they know it
  • details of the reader's needs if a specific edition is required (e.g. large print or dyslexic font edition, or a non-English language version).

Specific title requirement form (docx, 121KB) — will help you gather the information you need from teachers and your library team.

Make the most of your school’s topics selection allocation

To maximise the number of books you receive, you’ll need to use all your available requests.

When you get the requirement forms back from teachers, check to see whether they make good use of your school’s topics selection allocation. If you want to change any requests listed on the forms, confirm with teachers before you go ahead and submit them.

Too few requests to use up my school's allocation

If teachers give you fewer topic requests than your school’s allocation, try doing one or more of the following:

  • Split one request into several — use different learning areas and strands, year levels, or reading ages to make each request more specific.
  • Add a cross-curricular request to access a wider selection of books.
  • Add a reading engagement topic request to supplement your school's library collection. In this case, use a broad description such as 'books to encourage reading for pleasure' as the curriculum topic.

Too many requests for my school's allocation

If you don’t have enough topics selection requests available, try doing one or more of the following:

  • Combine several requests into one — use the Curriculum topic field to describe what you need.
  • Replace a broad reading engagement topic request with an extra reading request of up to 100 books. This will free up a topic request that you could use for inquiry. You can’t specify a focus for an extra reading request, but the books will include fiction and high-interest non-fiction titles matched to your school’s profile.
  • Use a specific title request as an alternative, for example, to support a small number of students or a specific curriculum achievement standard. You can make as many of these requests as you need.
  • Example — how to maximise your school's allocation

    This example shows a school with a roll size of 40 students, and a maximum of 4 topics selection requests each term. They are planning a school-wide inquiry relating to habitats. Using all 4 topic requests (rather than one broad school-wide request) means the school can:

    • potentially access more books, by splitting one large inquiry focus into several more specific topics
    • better target their support for particular year levels or reading ages.

    School-wide inquiry plan

    Curriculum area and strand Science: Living world
    Inquiry focus Habitats: rainforests, oceans, rocky-shore, jungles, plains, insects, birds, fish, farming, whales, endangered species
    Reading ages 5–14
    Year levels 1–8

    Possible selection requests for this school-wide inquiry

    Topic request number Learning area & strand Learning focus Year level(s) Number of students Reading age (from–to)
    1 Science — living world Habitats: rainforests, oceans, rocky-shore, jungles, plains 1–2 8 5–7
    2 Science — living world Animals: including insects, birds, fish, whales 3–4 9 7–9
    3 Technology — nature of technology Changes in technology and the impact on farming e.g. tractors, milking machines 5–6 12 9–12
    4 Cross-curricular — science Endangered species — looking for all curriculum areas, English, art, science, social sciences etc. 7–8 11 10–14

Example — how to maximise your school's allocation

This example shows a school with a roll size of 40 students, and a maximum of 4 topics selection requests each term. They are planning a school-wide inquiry relating to habitats. Using all 4 topic requests (rather than one broad school-wide request) means the school can:

  • potentially access more books, by splitting one large inquiry focus into several more specific topics
  • better target their support for particular year levels or reading ages.

School-wide inquiry plan

Curriculum area and strand Science: Living world
Inquiry focus Habitats: rainforests, oceans, rocky-shore, jungles, plains, insects, birds, fish, farming, whales, endangered species
Reading ages 5–14
Year levels 1–8

Possible selection requests for this school-wide inquiry

Topic request number Learning area & strand Learning focus Year level(s) Number of students Reading age (from–to)
1 Science — living world Habitats: rainforests, oceans, rocky-shore, jungles, plains 1–2 8 5–7
2 Science — living world Animals: including insects, birds, fish, whales 3–4 9 7–9
3 Technology — nature of technology Changes in technology and the impact on farming e.g. tractors, milking machines 5–6 12 9–12
4 Cross-curricular — science Endangered species — looking for all curriculum areas, English, art, science, social sciences etc. 7–8 11 10–14

If you want to limit the number of books you receive

If you want to receive fewer books than your school's allocation, tell us how many you’d like for each topics selection or extra reading request. Our librarians will use this number as a limit for the number of books in your loan.

Use topics selection requests to cater for most students

When your plans accommodate a broad group of students, topics selection requests are the best borrowing option to use. Here are some examples where topics selection requests would be a good option:

  • a syndicate or class spanning year levels, with a shared curriculum focus for the term — for example, a primary school with 3 junior syndicate classes all learning about habitats
  • a subject taught across classes at the same year level — for example, all of year 9 studying evolution in science (living world strand)
  • a year level cohort with widely varying reading ages — for example, intermediate school students whose reading ages range from 8 to 16 years
  • ESOL students from refugee or migrant families — for example, 10 students in years 1 to 8 whose home language is Arabic.

Use specific title requests for small numbers of students or uses

Here are some examples of when specific title requests could work well:

  • Students initiate an inquiry or project after all your topics selection requests have been used.
  • The teacher who coordinates your school's gifted and talented initiatives asks for resources to support a small group's special abilities or highly focused interests.
  • An unexpected or local event spurs interest in a topic after all your topics selection requests have been used.
  • A secondary school needs highly specialised resources to support:
    • a particular NCEA assessment
    • a student with a unique learning focus
    • a class with just a few students.
  • A teacher asks for a particular book or a few titles they want to evaluate as class texts.

Not sure?

If you're not sure which borrowing option to use for a particular situation, ask our facilitators to help you decide the best option for your learners. Facilitator contact details

Availability of resources

We process requests in the order we receive them. Your loan comes from books on our shelves. Sometimes books may not be available because:

  • a topic is in high demand (e.g. Anzac Day, Waitangi Day)
  • there are few resources published on the subject (e.g. Pacific Islands)
  • there's nothing published for a particular year level (e.g. French Revolution for year 1).

We also have great digital resources available, including Topic Explorer, which we encourage you to include in your resource planning.

Teaching and learning resources

Any questions or need help?