We do a range of resources to support senior leaders maximise the school library and promote understanding of the role and its demands.
The membership of the School Library Association covers the school (when paid for by the school), so you can make use of our advice line, online documents and member benefits.
We can run training in your school or deliver a consultation to support the future of the school library.
We offer additional benefits for Multi Academy Trusts or groups of schools.
If you already have fantastic library staff consider nominating them for the School Librarian of the Year.
(The term dual use libraries refers in this instance to libraries located within schools and intended to serve the needs of both the school and the local community.)
The School Library Association believes that dual use libraries work best when the school managers and the managers of the community library service have a shared vision for the service and a clear agreement as to its operation.
A vision statement might be expected to include the intention to maximise the opportunities offered: to provide an inclusive service to the whole community, throughout and beyond the school day; to provide access for learners of all ages and abilities; and to promote lifelong learning and reading for pleasure.
If the library is to be effective it is essential that funding is adequate to provide an appropriate level of staffing and the range and quantity of resources required to support the school curriculum and the learning needs and leisure interests of the community as a whole.
An agreement on the operation of the service may take the form of a policy or a formal service level agreement. It should include statements relating to:
Ideally the library should be available to pupils throughout the school day. To maximise the advantages of being dual use, it should also be available to other members of the community during the school day and at other times (evenings and weekends) according to community needs.
The security of pupils will need to be considered. Staffing levels should be adequate to provide supervision and guard against inappropriate contact with members of the community, and staff should be given child protection training. The layout of the library should be designed to give good lines of sight.
There should be sufficient professional librarians and library assistants to: manage the library; support the learning and personal reading needs of pupils, school staff and other members of the community; collaborate with teaching staff to support library based learning and develop information literacy skills; and operate the library on a day to day basis. Line management of staff should be clearly defined.
Stock should reflect both the curricular needs of the school and the needs of the local community. Ideally the stock will be integrated, but with provision for items to be retained for school use only, when needed for curricular work.
The budget may be held by the school or by the public library service. Ideally both should contribute an agreed proportion of it.
Public Library and school managers should both have an input into the management of the library, but responsibilities should be clearly defined, particularly for the management of staff and of the building, so that decisions can be made quickly when necessary.
The School Library Association believes that the Librarian/Library Manager as a member of staff closely involved with pupils and their learning, and with managing their behaviour, is entitled to:
The School Library Association believes that the purpose of a school library is:
The School Library Association believes that:
Some possible models are:
In all scenarios, the services and support of the professional staff of the local School Library Service (where available) will be essential.
‘I realise I’m talking to converts here, but I have to tell you that the difference a qualified librarian makes to a primary school is simply transformational’.’
David Tilling, Head Teacher of Peasedown St John Primary School, Bath, at the SLYA/SLA LDA Awards Event, 1st October 2012.
The School Library Association believes that:
Library staff should work with and supervise students in specific adherence to all of the policies of the school affecting any issues of supervision and of Health and Safety.
The job descriptions of library staff should include recognition of such supervisory responsibilities as are essential to the management and function of the library.
This should be determined in consultation with the Senior Management Team, the Librarian’s line manager and Health and Safety representative and should pay particular regard to matters of space, visual control, furnishing and equipment that are unique to the library.
New developments and any revision or extension of library functions may require a revision of supervisory needs.
Library activities vary but at all times library staff should only work with and supervise no more than the number of students for whom they can provide a safe working environment and a positive library and study experience for their users.
The range of activities occurring in a school library space, and the multiple demands on school library staff should be taken into account.
There are no legal ratios for supervision of secondary students. All staff should be able to summon immediate assistance in the event of an emergency as this is a safeguarding issue for pupils and staff alike.
Government advice here.
For ideas on selecting and recruiting pupil librarians, organising induction and developing a training programme, see our Pupil Librarian Toolkit (SLA Members only).
The School Library Association believes that every child has the right to the provision of an effective, well-stocked and well-managed school library and that volunteers can play an integral part in that provision. Volunteers, however, should never replace experienced or qualified staff and they must be effectively managed.
IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
These recommendations are based on the updated (April 2019) National Joint Council Schemes and Conditions of Service for England and Wales, and the National joint Council for Local Authorities Services (Scottish Council) for Scotland.
Please note: the recommendations are based on a standard 35 hour week and a full time contract. Term time only contracts will be pro-rata.
a) Senior Librarian/Head Librarian
With Head of Department status and managing library staff - recommendation: SCP 38 - 54.
This equates to a salary between £40,760 - £61,099.
b) Professionally qualified Librarian
With first degree or Masters degree in Library and Information Science - recommendation: SCP 23 - 38. This equates to a salary between £26,999 - £40,760.
Minimum of SCP 26 if chartered MCLIP or £ 29,636.
If teaching duties added to above, e.g. information skills programme - recommendation: SCP 31 - 43. This equates to a salary between £33,799 - £45,591.
c) Library Manager (unqualified) or recently qualified librarians
With day to day responsibility, including managing budget, development planning etc. - recommendation: SCP 18 - 25. This equates to a salary between £24,313 - £28,785.
d) Senior Clerical or Senior Library Assistant
Working with professional librarian - no strategic role but to include areas of responsibility - recommendation: SCP 7 - 11. This equates to a salary between £19,554 - £21,166.
e) Clerical or Library Assistant
working with professional librarian - no strategic role - recommendation: SCP 5 - 6. This equates to a salary between £18,795 - £19,171.
Minimum of SCP6 (£19,171) if City and Guilds or NVQ level 3 library assistants' qualification held.
Since the Introduction of the Working Time Regulations in 1998, all staff, including those who work part-time, are entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks (equivalent) paid holiday per year.
In addition, if library staff are not employed for 52 weeks per year, two to three weeks paid employment may also be required during school holidays for stock-checks, planning and report writing etc.
Updated June 2019
The School Library Association believes that the School Librarian/Library Manager has an essential and unique specialist role to play in supporting pupils’ learning and their development into effective, independent learners and readers.
The School Librarian should be:
The School Librarian should have the same entitlement to continuing professional development as teaching staff and paid holiday as required by the Working Time Regulations.