School libraries share innovative ideas

School Librarians are innovators. They often lead the charge in introducing new technology to students, stay informed about current trends, come up with creative ideas to support learning and encourage reading, and find creative ways to stretch their budget further.

In the 2016 Australian and New Zealand School Library Survey respondents were encouraged to share innovative practices they had implemented in their school library.

It was inspiring to read the fantastic ideas that were shared and we are excited to be able to present some of these in this paper. We hope you enjoy reading through the responses as much as we did.

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

Innovative ideas for the school library

1. Ideas for the library space

The library space is being reimagined. Librarians are finding creative ways to open their library up, promote the library and the books they have available, and provide an inviting and exciting place for students to visit.

2. Ideas to support learning

Collaborating with teachers to support learning and aligning resources with curriculum is an important part of the librarians role. School library staff shared ideas about how they have helped create lesson plans, worked with teachers to teach literacy, research and digital literacy skills and support subject areas school-wide.

3. Ideas to encourage engagement

Engaging students and encouraging reluctant readers has always been a priority and a challenge for school library staff. Respondents shared some fantastic ideas that have been successful in improving student engagement and encouraging reading for pleasure.

4. Ideas involving technology

School library staff are constantly looking for ways to use technology to enhance library services and improve learning outcomes.

Some respondents focussed on the benefits of improving the integration of digital resources with the library system, such as Federated Search, embedded videos and eBook lending, while the delivery of Makerspaces, Code Clubs and STEM programs also featured heavily in the responses.

5. Ideas for organising the collection

Resource and collection management remains an important service for school libraries and library staff are exploring new methods that make it easier for students to locate books.

There is a definite trend towards genrefication in school libraries with survey participants discussing the positive responses they have seen in their school communities.

6. Reading program ideas

Tying in to the earlier theme of student engagement, librarians are looking at formalising and extending “read aloud” activities by adopting models such as the “Drop-Everything-And-Read” (DEAR) program, letting children and other teachers have input in to reading programs and also involving families.

7. Budget ideas

Innovation is often driven by a need to overcome a specific challenge. In the case of school libraries, where 48% of survey respondents feel that their school library is not adequately funded, limited finances have become a source of inspired invention.

8. Student well-being ideas

School library staff recognise that mental and physical wellbeing has long-term benefits in terms of student performance and social development. In response, they are diversifying the range of activities on offer through the school library to improve the wellbeing of all students, but especially those who need additional support.

9. Ideas for using Oliver v5

Are you a current Oliver v5 user? We’ve included some of the great ways you can use Oliver v5 to engage your school community.

To read the feature, visit our resources page.

We have a number of features available that share comments from the Softlink School Library Surveys, with input from across the globe. These are also available on our resources page, and we have included a couple below that you may be interested in.

Learn more about our annual survey.