Merging school libraries

In this guide we provide tips for the project planning team to work through when merging two or more school libraries, as part of a whole school merger. The checklists will help you identify actions, resources, staffing required, target dates and charted progress as you work through the merger project.

We've attached the guide, which includes checklists for you to complete, at the end of this article.


School library mergers: an introduction
Checklists for your library merger project
Supporting information
Download merging school libraries guide

School library mergers: an introduction

When schools go through the process of merging, there are many issues to plan for, including the types of library services to be offered to support student learning.

Merging school libraries can be an opportunity to rethink:

  • the location of the library
  • how you can create a culturally inclusive and responsive environments that impact positively on student learning outcomes.

For example: flexible multi-use learning spaces for individual and group learning and a social hub for students, parents / whānau, school staff and community members to:

  • socialise
  • read
  • create things
  • celebrate literary and cultural events
  • listen to 'experts'.

Your options will depend on:

  • whether your school’s existing library facilities are to be used
  • whether the library is to occupy another building, or
  • if a new library is to be built elsewhere within the school.

The timeline for the school’s rebuilding project may also impact on your library. For instance, the library space may need to be extensively remodelled or used as a temporary classroom until a classroom block is completed. This would involve setting up a temporary library in the interim.

Consultation with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and your school community is an important initial step for the project planning team before any decisions are made. This allows everyone to identify a shared vision for the library, clarify expectations, and ascertain any budget issues and timeframes from the MOE that will have implications for the library.

Checklists for your library merger project

We have provided 6 checklists in the attached guide to assist your planning for the merger project:

  • Form a planning team and prepare an action plan
  • Assess library staffing requirements during and post-merger
  • Plan the location and layout of the library
  • Weed collections and migrate the catalogue records
  • Establish a relocation plan: collections, furniture, ICT and equipment
  • Develop a post-merger Library Strategic Plan

Supporting information

We've designed the attached guide to be used in conjunction with the following downloadable guides:

  • Shelving guidelines for your school library: Information on styles of shelving, shelf dimensions for types of collections, storage capacity and guidance on how to calculate your shelving requirements.
  • School library suppliers list: Information on suppliers of library shelving, furniture and equipment.
  • Cataloguing your library collection: Information about standards-based cataloguing and recommended online tools, which can also be used when merging library collections to improve the quality of records.
  • Tips for moving your library, which also includes setting up a temporary library.

You can contact Services to Schools’ advisory helpline 0800 LIB LINE (0800 542 5463) for free advice on the stages of the merger. Also consult with other schools that have been through the merger process.

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