Libraries belong at the hub of schools

Many of you may have already read the article published in the latest edition of the New Zealand PPTA News with this headline – Libraries Belong at the Hub of Schools.  As librarians, we all know this already. However, I’m getting ready to celebrate this idea with those colleagues outside of my library sphere.  I hope we all see this article as an opportunity to talk with our teaching colleagues, our principals, our senior leadership teams, our Board of Trustees about their views of school libraries in general and the one you share specifically.

The budget issue many schools are currently facing  is a symptom of our fight to be recognised, but what is the cause? Is there only one cause?  Undoubtedly not, but I believe the over-riding granddaddy of them all is the level of value placed on the work that can be done through an effective school library to support not only the teaching and learning in the school linked to the curriculum but foster and inspire a life-long love of reading.

So how do we get those in our schools who make the decisions to recognise and value the worth of their library?

Donna Watt in her presentation at 2011 SLANZA conference has already alluded to the need for strategic planning and advocacy within your schools.  Having a clear approach to where you want to be will help you plan the steps you need to take.  Every one of you will be starting from your own unique place.  Once you have gone through your own “needs assessment” you will have a clearer understanding of what that next first step will be.

Let’s use this forum as a way of collecting together to share what our own vision is for what makes a good school library.

Imagine you had 5 minutes of Anne Tolley’s undivided attention to talk to her about that makes libraries crucial in schools.  What is the one message you would want to leave her with?

2 thoughts on “Libraries belong at the hub of schools

  1. Doug Johnson in his blue skunk blog has a piece which I keep on my wall and have given to the staff rep on the BOT “What does a good library tell you about a school? ” a variation on this. [He has other posts which are probably useful too.]
    I would emphasize the need to have skilled professionals who can assist students use resources other than google and who can help them become competent researchers as well as use their knowledge to create content.


  2. I am glad I stumbled upon your blog, Senga, as I am always interested in hearing about the successes and challenges faced by school librarians (and other info pros) around the globe.

    Whilst working as a school librarian in the UK, I finally understood the importance of communicating what it is we actually do to people inside and outside of education. All libraries need to market their services, but I found that school libraries may be the most misunderstood sector.

    Decision makers need to understand that although collection development and resource management are still part of a librarian’s job, they are not the only duties. I wish I remember who originally said it, but I read an article not long ago that said that modern libraries emphasise “connections, not collections.” That is to say that school librarians are responsible for building up relationships with pupils and teachers so that they can work as information guides, teachers/coordinators of information literacy, and reader development specialists.

    It is also important to emphasise that technology such as e-books, internet search engines, and virtual learning environments complement library services rather than replace them. In fact, it is often the school librarian who is the first to experiment with new technology and teach others how (and why!) to use it.


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