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School libraries share: What I would change


Since 2014, Softlink has run an annual school library survey that looks at important statistical information, such as staffing and budgets, as well as school library practices, services, resourcing, and trends.  

Participants also have the opportunity to share things they would like to change about their library or role.  

Modern library space

As with previous years, in the 2020 Australia and New Zealand School Library Survey, a large number of respondents shared that they would like to see improvements to their library space. Some would like to modernise or refurbish their library, others would like to have a purpose-built library with flexible learning spaces, and others would like their library moved to the centre of the school for greater access for all year levels.

“My library is old and in need of a face lift. It needs to be brightened up a bit to become more inviting for students to visit. AU

“I would give my library a makeover to provide a modern space for both teachers and students.” NZ

“I would have it located in the centre of the school. The library is too far away from the lower grades.” AU

“Our library is mobile but that means it is not permanently in one place within the school. To run a library to cater for a school's needs it needs a permanent place and a permanent librarian. We have neither.” NZ

Librarian with trolley

Changes to staffing is another running theme from year-to-year.  Respondents shared that they would like more staff to support their role and the school community. They also share that they would like more qualified staff working in their library.

“I would love an assistant to ease some of the workload - that way I can have time to plan and initiate programs.” NZ

“I love my role of library management, but it would be fantastic to also have a teacher librarian employed to teach. A fully qualified TL and a fully qualified librarian or assistant is a necessary staffing team for every library.” AU

“I would love to have someone to help process books so that I can spend more time recommending books to students, doing book talks, displays etc.” NZ

“I would have another qualified teacher librarian, so that lessons are not so rushed, and there is time to prepare, collate and share. Another teacher librarian, would mean that the collection would be better maintained, we could liaise better with all Year groups, as it would be two of us not just one person trying to meet with everyone.” AU

Other 2020 themes include:

  • To be more involved in teaching and learning
  • Time, budget or opportunity to develop/grow the collection
  • More time to focus on or dedicate to their role
  • More engagement with students and teachers
  • I wouldn’t change a thing!

Our latest feature article shares comments around these themes.  

In this blog post we share some of these responses. To download the full feature visit our resources page.

To be more involved in teaching and learning  

Respondents shared that they would like to be more involved in teaching and learning, whether that is through collaboration, team-teaching, being involved in curriculum planning or teaching digital literacy, research skills, and library skills.

“I would spend more time collaborating with departments so that we know what they need, and they understand what we have to offer. Hopefully then they would think of using the library when designing any research assessments and make better use of our non-fiction collection.” NZ

“I would be more involved in curriculum planning and resourcing in a collaborative manner, and at a granular level.” AU

“I would put more focus on research; how I can help with this, and what online databases we can access.” NZ

“I would like to bring in a library skills based programme to compliment the use of the space and resources.” NZ

“I would like to have dedicated classes, especially Year 7 and Year 8, to show them how to research and reference, how to use the library catalogue and borrow eBooks, and to show Senior Students how to use resources. Digital Literacy skills should be shown to the whole school.” AU

Library lesson

Time, budget or opportunity to develop the collection

Respondents shared that they would like to develop or grow their collection. This could mean introducing eBooks and subscription databases, buying more popular titles to engage students in reading”, improving teacher resources or updating the non-fiction collection (which currently contains outdated/incorrect information).

“I would update the collection, particularly our non-fiction collection to meet the demands of teaching and learning in the 21st Century, and the Australian Curriculum.” AU

“I want to offer more subscription databases as quality resources, so students stop relying on quick internet searches.” NZ

“We have books walk out the door without it being checked out! Implementing eBooks would help with that.” NZ

“I would love to have more hours so more time could be spent on 'fine-tuning' collections, especially the teacher resources.” AU

“I would update old resources that are full of data that is no longer correct.” AU

More time to focus on their role

Respondents shared that they would like more time to focus on tasks specific to their role for example, assisting students with research, creating library displays, curating resources, promoting reading, and teaching information literacy.

“I’d like more time without interruptions to focus on projects within the library; developing the collection, displays, resources etc.” NZ

“I would like to change relief time to a library lesson.” AU

“I would like more time to curate collection for teaching staff and to review our current collections to ensure we have up to date resources for the curriculum. I’d like to make my role more focused on engaging readers and educating parents in effective ways to engage reluctant readers.” AU

“I would like more time to spend on information literacy and content curation.” NZ

“I would not have any subject classes to teach (I teach English) or supervise (my colleague supervises an inordinate number of non-scripture classes). This would free us both up to concentrate on our core roles.” AU

“I would like more hours to put into keeping the library going and supporting the teachers to develop a love of literacy in the children.” NZ

Reading with students

More engagement with students and teachers

Respondents shared that they would like more opportunities to engage with students and teachers. They would like more library visits, opportunities to promote library services, and more time interacting with/working with students.

“I would like to have better connections with departments and to see staff using the library resources and library staff.” NZ

“I would like the teachers to come more often, even to read a picture book or spend more time in their allocated time, not just come and go in a hurry.” AU

“More dedicated time to working with students would be great.” AU

“I would love the teachers to engage with the library environment when they have their library times. It's usually a quick turn around and then they play games or leave; no mention of new books, authors, genres etc. There is no interaction about the library other than just changing books.” NZ

I wouldn't change a thing!

Respondents shared that they love their library or their role, that they know they are making a difference and are valued, that they feel supported, and they love the library space.

“I think our library is amazing. We are very proud of it and the difference it makes to literacy in our school.” NZ

“I would change nothing. We are building a dynamic and supportive teaching and learning space for the whole school community.” AU

“Our school library is excellent: a modern beautiful setting which is well resourced and valued by the school. The library staff are appreciated and valued for their welcoming and helpful approach.” AU

“I would change nothing. I feel very fortunate to be working at my school, and my Learning Centre space is amazing. We even have a library dog!” NZ

“There is nothing specifically I would change. I am very well supported by the teaching staff, from the Principal down, and I can create my own opportunities as I see fit for the benefit of the school.” AU

“Not really anything - I love what I do!” NZ

Happy librarian

To download the full feature document, visit our resources page

To read more feature documents, click here