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Australian School Libraries Share: Unveiling the Joys and Rewards of School Library Work


School Librarian

The annual Softlink School Library Surveys,  school library staff are given the chance to express their perspectives on working in a school library through a series of open-ended questions. Despite acknowledging the difficulties they encounter, it is clear that their dedication and love for their profession not only shine through but also outweigh the challenges.

In the 2022 Australian School Library Survey, we wanted to explore this further so asked the question:  

“What is the best thing about working in a school library?"

We had a fantastic response, with valuable feedback shared by school library staff across Australia. In collating these comments, the following themes emerged:

  • Cultivating a love of reading 
  • Contributing to teaching and learning
  • Engaging with students and staff
  • The variety of the role
  • Providing a safe and welcoming space
  • Books! Books! Books!
  • Supporting research and information literacy

In our latest feature document, we share a selection of comments around these themes.

A summary of the responses is included below. To download the full feature, visit our resources page.

Cultivating a love of reading

School Children in Library reading books

We have gathered insights from school library staff who reveal the most rewarding aspects of their profession. They emphasize that the greatest joy of working in a school library lies in nurturing a passion for reading, transforming reluctant readers into enthusiastic ones, facilitating the discovery of books that resonate with students, and actively participating in their reading journeys.

"Getting new books out and having them snapped up really quickly. Seeing the joy on kids faces and engaging with stories."

"Love seeing the children grow in their reading skills and watching the students develop a love of reading."


Inspiring and encouraging students to discover the magic of reading and to keep them interested in their reading journey.

Engaging with students and staff

Library staff open up about the most fulfilling aspect of their work in a school library: the deep engagement, meaningful relationships, and rewarding interactions they enjoy with both students and staff members.

"I love the opportunities to engage in conversation with the students and teachers about what they are reading or recommending books/resources to them."

“Supporting teachers and students to become more engaged in the library.”

Connecting with students regarding their reading choices, and making resources available that suit those choices.

Providing a safe and welcoming space

Library staff express their admiration for the enriching experience of working in a school library, where they can create a secure and inviting environment for students. This dedicated space not only nurtures a passion for reading but also encourages student development, while simultaneously fostering innovation and aiding in academic exploration.

"That it is a joint-use library and a community hub, a dynamic environment with continuous opportunities."

“The students and creating a safe environment for them to read and relax.”

Calmer than the classroom Positive interactions with students A meeting place, to a degree, for staff Books! Being a safe haven for students.

Supporting teaching and learning

School library staff share their enjoyment in supporting teaching and learning through student engagement, collection development, and collaborative endeavours with teachers.

"Exposing kids to a wide range of literature to develop their love of reading. Teaching research skills to kids."

"Diverse role including student support in their learning, reading promotion, seeing students succeed." 

Helping students and staff with their information needs, providing interesting and relevant reading materials in a variety of formats for our school community.

Supporting research

Library staff share the rewarding aspects of their work, including supporting research, connecting students to valuable resources, and teaching them how to access reliable information.

"Delivering programs in information literacy, visual literacy, guided research, literature and fostering a love of reading within the students."

“Supporting students and staff with their research needs. Locating hard to find resources.”

Seeing students who really engage with literature. And teaching students to navigate research and referencing so that they are confident and prepared for further study.

The variety of the role

In this section, school library staff share that the best thing about working in a school library is the variety of the role, the constant change, the unpredictability, and the opportunity to be constantly learning.

"The diverse range of responsibilities and students who I deal with."

"The variety of work. Connecting students to reading and books Improving information literacy skills The relationships with students, staff & community."

Books! Books! Books!

School library staff share that the highlight of working in a school library is the immersive experience of being surrounded by books, celebrating their presence, and sharing their passion for books with others.

"Living, breathing, reading and dreaming literature."

"Seeing the joy on kids faces when you hand them books they have been looking for."

“I love New Books and seeing students reading makes me happy and let's me know I have done a wonderful job. ”

I get to impart my passion for literature and the joys of reading to my students.

To download the full feature document, visit our resources page.

Further reading