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


School Librarian Loaning books to student

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 New Zealand School Library Survey, we wanted to explore this further so asked the question:  

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

After gathering valuable feedback from school library staff across New Zealand, we identified the following themes:

  • Cultivating a love of reading
  • Engaging with students and staff
  • Providing a safe and welcoming space
  • Supporting teaching and learning
  • Supporting research
  • The variety of the role
  • The autonomy of the role
  • 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 Child reading a book in the library

We have gathered insights from school library staff who reveal the most rewarding aspects of their profession. They emphasise 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.

"To share a love of reading and lifelong learning with young people, and to be in a position to positively influence their learning outcomes."

"The students and getting them hooked on reading."

Akonga. Connecting these awesome young people with story, seeing them get excited about reading, developing relationships, and reading relationships with them.

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.

"Promote love of reading, research. Engagement with staff and students."

“Getting to know all the children in the school and sharing the love of reading.”

Supporting teaching and learning

In this section, school library staff share that the best thing about working in a school library is the opportunity to support teaching and learning, whether that is working directly with students, developing the collection, or by collaborating with teachers.

"Working with students and teachers and making a difference by supporting teaching and learning."

"Being able to work with teachers and kids to help them find resources to support learning and inspiring readers and connecting them with books to read for pleasure."

School child reading in their school library

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.

"Sharing the passion of reading. Being creative with displays and promos. Interacting with students. Being in charge! - great after the bureaucracy of Akld Libs."

“Helping positive students and teachers who are enthusiastic about books.”

Interacting with the students and encouraging them to try a different book genre, it is great to see a student return a book and say it was a great read and is there another book or a series l would recommend.

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

Further reading