Learning About Libraries

Learning About Libraries - training for Primary schools


Welcome to the Learning about Libraries Programme. Participants are being offered an enjoyable and rewarding programme of learning and experience which will lead to a certificate of competence from the School Library Association.

The Learning about Libraries course will lead candidates through the processes involved in organising and running a primary school library with the aim to provide the best possible resource for the school.  The course consists of a series of modules covering the essential skills needed, from basic routines to promotion and marketing and developing a library that fully supports the learning in the school. The training was written by: Lin Smith, Annike Dase, Lesley Martin, Nikki Heath, Jane O'Loughlin and Sally Duncan.

Benefits to the participants

The opportunity to gain knowledge and to put it to practical use in your school library. This will result in a deeper understanding of the way the library operates and an understanding of how you can develop the library to serve the needs of the school.

Benefits to the school

This course offers practical training, advice and support to your library co-ordinator. The Learning about Libraries course consists of 6 modules - participants choose 4 from the 6 for the basic course but can go on to do the extra 2 for an advanced certificate. Participants undertake a variety of practical tasks and provide evidence of what they have done and the impact it has had on the school. They should complete the course with an enhanced range of skills and strategies for improving the library provision in the school.

Who is eligible to apply?

Anyone who has responsibility for the day to day running of a primary school library. The programme will suit TAs, HTLAs, parent volunteers and teaching staff who want to gain an insight into library processes and promotion.


Each module has an administration fee of £50 (for SLA members) and £150 (for non members) and the final assessment and certification is £15.


The Learning about Libraries Programme consists of 6 modules, broken down into a number of Units. Participants need to undertake 4 modules altogether to obtain the final certificate. Module 2 and Module 6 are compulsory. It is recommended that all participants start with Module 2. There is the additional option of undertaking the remaining 2 modules to gain a certificate of advanced practice.

All modules, wherever possible, contain a mixture of online content and reading matter to ensure an interesting and varied delivery. 

The six modules are:

Module 1 – The Physical Library

Unit 1:  Assessing the situation

Unit 2:  Planning projects

Unit 3:  Putting it into practice

Module 2 – Managing The Bookstock (compulsory unit)

Unit 1:  Auditing the bookstock

Unit 2:  Planning and budgeting

Unit 3:  Classifying and cataloguing 

Unit 4:  Issuing and promoting the stock

Module 3 – Information Skills

Unit 1:  Assessing the situation

Unit 2:  Planning and preparation

Unit 3:  Putting it into practice

Module 4 – Reading Promotion

Unit 1:  Assessing the situation

Unit 2:  Planning and preparation

Unit 3:  Putting it into practice

Module 5 – Practical Paperwork

Unit 1:  Writing a policy

Unit 2:  Developing an Action Plan

Unit 3:  Your information skills programme

Module 6 – Evaluation and Action Planning (compulsory unit)

Unit 1: Evaluating the library

Unit 2: A plan for action

For more information have a look at the Online Courses page. 


Delegates can spread the training out over a maximum of 2 years if they want to be assessed but are welcome to take longer if they do not require the final certificate. We recommend that each module is undertaken and completed before the next is begun.

Assessment will be by a variety of methods and details are given in the materials for each module. The methods could be:

  • Photographs (before and after)
  • Witness statements – from headteacher, line manager etc.
  • Candidates report

What we do

What we offer our members:

    A quarterly journal

    This is full of best practice for primary and secondary, ideas for activities, tips; book and digital reviews across all ages from 0-8 through to 16-19 enabling educationalists to stay up to date with the latest in children’s publishing and maximise their budget.

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    Access to an advice line

    Any member of school staff can email or call and ask about any issues/best practice/guidance and get realistic, personalised advice, whether that's the librarian, teacher, bursar or Head.

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    Our combined offer of online and day courses, alongside the weekend course, means you can continue to develop throughout the year. Topics range from copyright to mental health, from behaviour management to supporting sixth form.

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    Lively and practical; our publications are easily readable whether you’re new or experienced, on a range of topics and across all school stages. Whether its the Guidelines - an oversight of an issue with a few case studies - Riveting Reads or Voices they enable you to explore a topic in your own time.

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    A mentoring service for anyone with responsibility for running the library. We match you to someone in a similar context to guide you through and provide ongoing support.

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    Regional Branches

    We support regional branches put on their own training days and run network events, bringing training to you, and ensuring a local support network. We also support networks for non-members.

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    Other Benefits

    Members also benefit from competitions, give-aways and discounts from publishers, and exclusive discount on other products including Amazing! Magazine, DLT magazines, The Literary Gift Company; as well as discounts off all SLA publications and training.

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We also:


    Run four Awards: the Information Book Award; the School Librarian of the Year and the Community Award and the Enterprise of the Year Award. We also support the Pupil Library Assistant Award.

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Meet the people who help make it happen

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