Managing your school library: guiding statement

Your library's guiding statement provides a policy framework for developing and managing the library and its services. It helps you evaluate how effectively your library supports student achievement in your school.


Rationale for the library
Role of the library
Reviewing the guiding statement

The guiding statement helps your school community share an understanding of the role of the school library in supporting literacy, learning and teaching. It provides a policy framework for developing and managing the library and its services, and evaluating how effectively it supports student achievement in your school.

This example provides a model for writing your own guiding statement based on your School community profile form and The Pedagogy of the library. Consult with your principal, teachers and school community to ensure the statement reflects the needs of all students.

Rationale for the library

[School name] Library supports the school’s vision of developing “confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners” through its services, collections, and programmes. Learners are at the centre of learning in the library. We give every student the opportunity to learn, to enjoy reading, and to create new knowledge and understanding in the library.

Role of the library

  • To underpin teaching and inquiry learning by providing a rich range of information resources, and technologies for managing, accessing and using information.
  • To support the school’s literacy programme and enhance the development of multi-literate students by promoting the links between the classroom, the library, and the wider community in creating a culture of reading for pleasure, as well as for information
  • To provide a welcoming and information-rich physical and online environment that promotes student engagement and collaborative learning, underpinned by the New Zealand curriculum’s key competencies and values
  • To provide school-wide management of information services supported by professional expertise and the school’s ICT infrastructure
  • To reflect the Treaty of Waitangi and the principles of the New Zealand curriculum promoting equity of access, cultural diversity and inclusion through supporting the needs of all learners and the school community in the library’s collections, services, and environment


Support for Reading and Literacy

  • The library provides access to a wide variety of quality fiction and non-fiction, including online resources that cater for a wide range of reading abilities and interests, to support and extend students as engaged and motivated readers.
  • The library team helps to plan, implement, and evaluate programmes to develop students’ reading and multiple literacy skills by working collaboratively with literacy leaders, teachers, ICT staff, and senior management.
  • Library staff help students choose resources in a range of formats, taking into account students’ learning styles, abilities and reading interests, to encourage students’ reading, viewing and listening skills for information and personal enjoyment, and extend their reading mileage.
  • As part of the school’s professional learning programme, library staff and literacy leaders work collaboratively to increase teacher and parent/whānau knowledge and awareness of NZ and international literature for children and young people, and to build a reading culture within the school community that promotes curiosity, creativity and imagination.
  • The school’s reading data is analysed and student surveys are conducted to inform targeted collection development, and to create opportunities for reading promotion activities including author visits and special events supporting literacy, and any collaborations with outside resource agencies, such as the public library.
  • Regular liaison with the public library and visits by students are encouraged as part of our school’s learning programme to enrich students’ reading and build their confidence as library users.
  • The library’s impact on students’ reading and literacy is monitored and evaluated as part of the assessment of the school’s literacy programme and initiatives. Data gathered includes issue statistics linked to students’ reading data, and library booking sheets to show patterns in class visits.

Support for inquiry learning and information literacy development

  • The library staff work collaboratively with teachers in planning, implementing and evaluating a school-wide guided inquiry approach to learning for the teaching and scaffolding of students’ information literacy skills.
  • The library staff work collaboratively with ICT staff and teachers to establish the library’s services as an integral part of the school’s online learning environment accessible by teachers and students within and beyond the school.
  • Transliteracy (reading and writing across all media) is developed and promoted through access to print, digital and multimedia collections and access to resources (digital, multimedia, analogue) for production, enabling students to become active seekers and users of information and creative and critical thinkers, sharing their new knowledge in a variety of media.
  • Students are encouraged to become competent co-constructors of knowledge and develop an understanding of the world beyond their immediate experiences through using the library and its resources to find information to solve problems.
  • The library’s services and physical and online learning spaces facilitate student participation in individual and collaborative learning through scaffolding skills, sharing of information and through discussion, debate and the creation of new materials.
  • Evidence of the ways in which the library supports students’ knowledge and abilities in inquiry learning is gathered and measured as part of the school’s assessment processes.

Strategic management of the library

  • The school’s senior management provide leadership and support in actively promoting the library and the library team’s role as educators and information specialists in contributing to student learning.
  • The Library team works collaboratively with representatives from key areas of the school - teachers, resource managers, ICT specialists, literacy leaders and school community – to plan, implement and evaluate programmes. The library has a prominent presence within the school’s online learning environment, classrooms and home-school partnerships in supporting student achievement.
  • The library team uses evidence-based practices to connect the library with student learning and achievement. School staff are kept aware of educational research findings on libraries and student achievement in reading and learning, to inform services and practices.
  • The principal includes significant library development in the school’s Strategic / Annual Plans and policies, and the Board of Trustees provides funding, staffing, and ongoing professional development.
  • The library supports the school’s commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi and reflects the principles of the New Zealand curriculum promoting cultural diversity and inclusion through supporting the needs of all learners and the school community in its facilities, resources, services, and environment.
  • A library annual report is presented to the principal and Board of Trustees to monitor the library’s contributions to learning and teaching, and to ensure the ongoing integration of the library with whole school priorities and developments.
  • The guiding statement is a foundation for, and is supported by, the following documents:

Library management team

  • The library is managed by a team whose roles, responsibilities, competencies, qualities, and qualifications are agreed and documented in their job descriptions.
  • The Library team is led by the Teacher with Library Responsibility (TLR) or Teacher Librarian (TL) or Library Manager (LM), who liaises regularly and often with school management, teaching staff and students.
  • Student Librarians and volunteers are involved in operating the library, and are managed, trained and supported so that they undertake appropriate tasks and are positive role models for library users.
  • The library team maximises opportunities to advocate and promote the use of library facilities and resources to students, teachers and the school community, using a range of communication channels, including social media, to encourage high levels of engagement with learning and ensure that users’ needs are met.
  • As part of whole school staff development, library staff receive professional development and training and are supported by a performance appraisal system with goal setting and annual reviews, which comply with Ministry of Education requirements and employment contracts.
  • The school library team is part of a wider professional learning community which facilitates continuous learning through developing personal learning networks (PLN), and professional development opportunities with external agencies and support groups, such as SLANZA.
  • The library is staffed adequately to provide support for student achievement in learning and literacy and this is reviewed annually and reported in the Annual Report.

Financial management

  • The school allocates an annual library budget sufficient for sustainable library development to support current and projected needs. The library may also receive funding from the school community through PTA donations, grants, sponsorships, school fundraising events, and book fairs, which are in addition to and not instead of adequate library funding.
  • The Teacher Librarian, Teacher with Library Responsibility or Library Manager has delegated financial responsibility for the library and is responsible for preparing and presenting a Budget Proposal to the principal for consideration by the Board of Trustees, and is accountable to school management for budget expenditure.
  • The library budget includes the following items:
    • Resource budget, including periodicals and subscriptions to online information, which is based on a Collection requirements plan that prioritises the outcomes of the collection assessment and user needs analysis.
    • Consumables budget, which requires about 10 - 15% of the resource budget.
    • Professional reading / subscriptions such as review journals and professional associations, such as SLANZA, NZ Book Council Writers in Schools.
    • Library software support, including annual licence fees, upgrade requirements, and support charges.
    • Environment: minor items, for example: cushions, signs, display materials.
  • The following items are funded from other budgets: ICT hardware and costs associated with networking; Internet costs and telecommunications charges; furniture, shelving and other major capital items; salaries; professional development for the library team.
  • Ensure all school policy decisions on cost recovery are documented, eg: lost or damaged items, photocopier/printer paper.
  • Collection stocktakes are completed in line with the Ministry of Education audit requirements and guidelines.
  • A financial report showing both budgeted and actual expenditure is appended to the Annual report for presentation to the Principal and Board of Trustees.

Collection management

  • Library staff co-ordinate the planned development of the collection, in accordance with the Library Collection Guiding Statement, to provide a balanced, targeted and relevant range of resources to support the curriculum, reading, information and cultural needs of our school community.
  • The school library includes a wide range of genre, text types, and different media for a variety of students’ needs and learning styles: books (fiction, non-fiction, picture books, sophisticated picture books, graphic novels, Quick Reads, and reference), magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, talking books, games, eBooks, websites and databases (For example: EPIC databases)
  • Resources are purchased according to a Collection requirements plan and the annual budget. The Collection requirements plan is used to inform and guide budget spending and monitor how successfully the budget was implemented and note any problems such as insufficient resources available for a particular topic.
  • Criteria for the selection of resources, guidelines for handling donations and dealing with queries / complaints about a resource, are documented in the School Library Collection guiding statement.
  • Teachers and students are encouraged to supplement the library’s collections with information and resources available from external resource agencies, such as the National Library lending service, the local public library, and the wider community.
  • Student usage of online resources and Web 2.0 tools is monitored to inform collection development and inquiry learning assessment.

Day-to-day management of the library

  • Our library’s services and operations provide a welcoming learning environment that reflects the key competencies and values of the New Zealand curriculum and the culture, community and “special character” of the school in supporting student needs.
  • The library’s physical facilities are designed according to environmentally sound principles and model sustainability with flexible, multi-functional spaces that can respond to changes in curriculum, technology, student numbers and the community.
  • The library’s online presence provides a portal for accessing the library’s collections print and digital, external databases and web-based tools and resources within and beyond the school, and promotes effective search strategies and good digital citizenship as outlined by Netsafe.
  • Library users understand their responsibilities under the Copyright Act (1994), Creative Commons licenses, the school’s Cybersafety Use Agreement and school-wide social media policy that incorporates guidelines for the use of social networking tools by staff and students.
  • Library layout, signage, and systems support and facilitate responsible library use. Standardised systems of operation are established and maintained according to the guidelines in the Library Handbook.
  • The library is always open during school hours with both fixed and flexible timetable options for classes, small groups and individuals.
  • Ideally, classroom teachers have responsibility for supervising classes when using the library and assisting with lunchtime supervision.
  • The library’s resources are available for loan to students and teachers for use within the school and at home, according to borrowing guidelines in the Library handbook.
  • As part of our school’s home-school partnership, the library is a place for the whole school community, pre-schoolers and parents are encouraged to explore, and use the library.

Reviewing the guiding statement

A review of this guiding statement is carried out as part of the school’s policy cycle, to ensure that it continues to reflect the evolving information landscape and the school’s philosophy, aims and objectives for the school library’s services and practices in supporting student achievement.

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