“We hope that libraries will always exist as places for learners to find information, resources, services, and instruction. But formats, technologies, learning needs, and our schools are evolving. And so are students themselves. Our entire information and communication landscapes have shifted—and this shift will only continue.” – Valenza & Johnston (October 2009)
The school library is central to learning and plays a key role as a place for encouraging innovation, curiosity, and problem solving. Our library is a catalyst for literacy and reading and for teaching and scaffolding inquiry learning. School libraries make a difference to students’ understanding and achievement and provide support for teaching and learning throughout the school. The school library is an important part of the school community and reflects and welcomes this community.
Our school library plays a key role in the cultural and social life of the school. It can be a central point for engagement with all kinds of reading, cultural activities, access to information, knowledge building, deep thinking and lively discussion.
The school provides a modern library well equipped with wide range of books, journals, novels, encyclopedias, newspapers and magazines. The library is also a learning lounge for students to hold group discussions of carry out self study.
The school library provides a model for inquiry learning and building knowledge and confidence in seeking and processing information. The school library is pivotal to developing learners.
There is a large and growing body of evidence showing the impact of the school library on student achievement.
It is a fundamental resource for supporting students’ learning, and a key support for teaching staff. Our school library reflects and encourages collaborative learning and sharing of ideas.
The school library provides information and ideas that are fundamental to functioning successfully in today’s information and knowledge-based society. The school library equips students with lifelong learning skills and develops the imagination, enabling them to live as responsible citizens.
You can critically evaluate our library through looking at how the key competencies are represented and modeled.
Thinking Through using our school library students develop questioning skills and become creative and critical thinkers. In the library students become active seekers and users of information.
Library users are supported in their inquiry learning and the school inquiry model is displayed prominently in the library and referred to regularly.There is clear and well-organised library layout and signage. Visual displays prompt critical thinking and questioning.
Students can become competent constructors of knowledge. They use the library and its resources to find information to help solve problems and to develop an understanding of the world and “worlds” beyond their immediate experiences. All learners develop and use searching skills effectively based on careful choice of information. Students and educators learn to discriminate useful and valid information relevant to their task. The library encourages all learners to reflect on their own learning and to challenge their own assumptions and perceptions. The library is a place where curiosity and creativity are encouraged.
Using language, symbols and texts
The school library includes a wide range of genre and text types, and different media: books, magazines, newspapers, and online resources. Through building library literacy and specific vocabulary students broaden their language and understanding of library terms. Students use a variety of media in the library. They select the best media for their context and message when sharing learning with their peers and teachers. The library collection and environment reflects awareness of and empathy with a variety of cultures and languages. Clear signage, symbols and Dewey interpretation charts enable students to understand the language of libraries.
Our school library provides a safe environment where students are empowered to take the lead, or work as a group with others taking the initiative. The library is a learning commons encouraging open forums, learning, discussion and debate. The library provides leveled learning goal matrices for student use. Library layout, signage and systems enable library users to be supported and facilitate responsible library use.
Relating to others
The library provides a welcoming environment where the needs of all users are respected. There is proactive support for student learning. The library team make recommendations to teaching staff relevant to their subject specializations and interests. The library team models collaboration and provides an environment that encourages collaborative activities. The library team communicates with library users in a variety of ways. For example: texting, blogs, email and face-to-face.
Participating and contributing
Library users are able to participate in group activities including discussions, debates and research. The library creates opportunities for collaborative book sharing and reading promotion activities including author visits and special events. The library team maximizes opportunities to promote the use of library facilities and resources and uses their expertise to ensure that users’ needs are met. The library removes barriers to use. It develops a sense of community through participating in whole school events and making the library a center for learning and cultural events.
School libraries model excellence through supporting and encouraging high levels of engagement with learning. Developing our school library as a place of sharing and cultural engagement means that it can also become a springboard for developing emotional intelligence. School library systems and services provide access to resources that encourage and facilitate lively debate and academic excellence.
Innovation, inquiry and curiosity
The school library is ideally placed to foster innovation, inquiry and curiosity. Our school library can be the place to go for students’ ‘wondering.’ The dynamic environment of school libraries is a key source for motivating learners and igniting a spirit of curiosity, discussion and debate.
Libraries are founded on the principle of equity. The school library promotes equity through: supporting the needs of all learners, providing services to all students and teachers, reflecting the languages and cultures of the school community.
Our school library can support a wide range of learning needs and personal interests by ensuring books and other resources are available at all reading levels. Access to online resources and provision of up to date technology to support and enhance learning within the library also promotes equity. The school library aims to give every student the opportunity to learn, to enjoy reading and to create new knowledge and understanding.
Community and participation
The school library is a community of learners. Collaboration and communication is encouraged and developed through the ways that the library team and teaching staff work together. Community and participation is inherent within a school library learning commons environment and where collaborative learning is an integral part of the library. Students’ new learning and ideas are valued and they are actively involved in selecting resources and planning library events and displays. The library is a place for the whole school community. Pre-preschoolers and parents are encouraged to explore, and use the library.
The library welcomes and supports all learners and the high value placed on education and learning encourages and grows respect. Library staff respect students’ individual choices in reading genre and format. They encourage diversity through selecting resources to match the different interests, cultures and languages of their students.