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2023 School Library Survey Report New Zealand


Softlink conducted the New Zealand School Library Survey on behalf of the school library sector, to explore significant trends and issues affecting school libraries. 

The 2023 report provides a summary of survey findings from all schools, in addition to reports on the participating State: Integrated, State: Not Integrated, and Private: Fully Reg. schools.

Data and analysis captured includes school library budgets and staffing, the availability of digital resources and other trends in school library services. Today, the report has grown to become key to understanding and advocating the role of school libraries and library professionals to education decision makers, industry associations and networks.

About the Survey

The Australian Federal Government called for submissions to the 'Inquiry into school libraries and Teacher Librarians in Australian schools' in 2010. Softlink conducted a survey of Australian school libraries to gather data, which was instrumental in providing a distinctive and well-informed response to the inquiry.

Since then, Softlink has been conducting annual surveys of Australian school libraries, as well as extending this to include New Zealand and UK schools in 2015. This ongoing survey aims to shed light on the challenges and opportunities faced by school libraries and to track changes, impacts, and trends over time.

The latest Softlink Australian School Library Survey was conducted late last year. All schools in Australia were invited to participate, including those that are not Softlink customers, through various channels such as email, Twitter, LinkedIn, OZTL_Net, and promotions by Softlink's partners, associates, and school library groups. A total of 110 schools participated in the survey, which is an impressive achievement.

Key Findings Summary - New Zealand

Key findings for New Zealand from the 2023 Survey include:

  • 53% of respondents indicated that they think their school library budget is adequate.
  • 62% indicated that they think their school library is adequately staffed.
  • 67% of respondents reported that their library budget had not changed from the previous year, 13% reported it had increased, and 20% reported it had decreased.
  • 85% of respondents reported no change to their staffing levels from the previous year, 5% reported it had increased, and 10% reported a decrease.
  • Budget cutbacks and new leadership were attributed as a reason for both budget and staffing decreases.
  • When asked about their school library space, respondents reported that the following best describes their library:
    • Classroom library/libraries: 2%
    • Designated library area in an open-plan space: 12%
    • Designated library in a separate room/classroom/floor/building: 81%
    • Shared space: 5%
  • The top 3 responsibilities of school library staff (over and above managing the collection) were:
    • Curating relevant information and resources to support the curriculum (70%)
    • Provide 1 on 1 research assistance to students (64%)
    • Deliver ad-hoc library lessons (62%)
  • The top 3 avenues school library staff use to promote the library and resources were:
    • School library displays (96%) 
    • Via the Library Management System (62%)
    • Creating booklists (50%) 
  • When asked about the level of support the school library receives from the Senior Leadership Team, 37% of respondents reported a high to very high level of support, 34% reported a moderate level of support, and 28% reported a low to very low level of support.
  • When asked about the level of teacher engagement with the library, 33% of respondents reported a high to very high level of engagement, 48% reported a moderate level of engagement, and 19% reported a low to very low level of support.
  • When asked about the level of student engagement with the library, 51% of respondents reported a high to very high level of engagement, 39% reported a moderate level of engagement, and 10% reported a low to very low level of support.

Thank you 

We extend our thank you to all the participants of the 2023 New Zealand School Library Survey. 

The survey results serve as a crucial reference to monitor the changes, impacts, and trends in school libraries. Softlink will collaborate with industry associations to advocate for the significance of school libraries and teacher librarians to Education Ministers, departments, decision-makers, and industry networks.

We appreciate your willingness to share information about your school library, which enables us to present this valuable, annual analysis of school libraries. We would also like to express our thanks to the School Library Associations and Partners who aided in promoting the Survey. 

Students need school libraries

We strive to include all the promoters of the survey, but in case we missed anyone, please reach out to us so we can update the page accordingly.

Softlink takes pride in sponsoring and growing this initiative. We continuously strive to enhance and refine the School Library Survey, reports, and whitepapers. If you wish to provide feedback, please send an email to communications@softlinkint.com.

Additional Resources

The Softlink School Library Surveys are used to produce a range reports and feature documents to help inform and support school library staff and the greater school community. A selection of these have been included below, to view more visit softlinkint.com/resources/reports-and-whitepapers/

New Zealand school libraries share: The best thing about working in a school library

The comments from the 2022 survey are shared in this feature, highlighting what New Zealand respondents enjoy about their library or role.

Qualifications held by school library staff in New Zealand

This feature shares comments from the 2021 survey, highlighting qualifications held by school library staff in New Zealand.

Our team consistently seeks ways to enhance and polish the School Library Survey, along with its related reports and whitepapers. Should you have any feedback, we welcome your suggestions. Please feel free to send us an email at communications@softlinkint.com.