SLA Advice and Support

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If you or your school are not yet a member of the SLA, please visit the Join page, or contact the SLA Office where staff will be happy to advise you on joining the Association. Members have access to a large number of support and guidance documents. Below are a small sample for non-members to use.  

Contents

Library Activities for Nursery and Infant Children

Of course, all children should spend some "free" time in the library where they can choose books and read. With very young children it is sometimes beneficial, however, to plan and structure library lessons in order for these to be productive.

When organising activities in the library with very young children, it's important not to feel limited or hindered by their short concentration span and lack of reading skills. There are many ways in which these children can use a library or book corner to learn valuable skills. Below are just a few ideas on which you can build your own activities, depending on what you want to achieve. Make sure to involve the pupils' teacher in the planning of library sessions so you can work together and reinforce the same messages.

STORY TIME

Story time isn't simply a nice relaxing activity. It ties in directly with the National Curriculum for primary literacy and helps children acquire a valuable set of skills, such as listening, being creative, extending their vocabulary, learning about history and cultural heritage of their own and other countries, and developing and expressing preferences to make informed choices.

  • Generally, less is more. Choose only one long or a couple of shorter stories before allowing the children to move around.
  • Most children enjoy being involved in the telling of a story. When you read them a book, pause frequently and ask them what they think will happen next. After finishing the book, always ask them what they thought of it.
  • Choose books on a particular theme and ask the pupils which one they enjoyed most and why.
  • Choose stories that rhyme or involve actions and sounds. Get the children to join in and move around.
  • Make sure to include some favourites that the children know and like. Build up a tradition, for example, to always finish with a specific story or poem. The children will enjoy joining in.
  • You can also theme stories around the time of year, animals, countries or any topic work that the children are currently involved in.
  • If you feel confident, just tell a story sometimes, instead of reading one from a book. Perhaps you and the children can tell it together? Fairytales are good for this.
  • Don't forget classics, fairy tales, poems, myths and legends and include non-fiction titles too.

INFORMATION LITERACY

Developing information skills can begin as early as nursery classes. The main aim is to teach children about the use of systems to organise materials, such as the alphabet, and introduce them to a variety of media.

  • Alphabet skills: For this, you need to put stickers on the picture books that show the first letter of the author surname. (This could be done by older children.) You can then use the books for a multitude of activities, including asking the children to find a book that has a sticker with the first letter of THEIR surname. Or finding books by authors with a surname that starts with the same letter.
  • Dewey Decimal skills: Assuming your non-fiction books are shelved in Dewey categories, introduce them to the children. You can then ask them to put some books on the correct shelf. Or design a short activity where you ask them to find a book in a certain category.  You could provide a colouring in sheet too where children have to use the correct colours for each category.
  • Different types of books: Even the youngest children can compare fiction and non-fiction books. Read them a picture book like "Mother Hen" perhaps and then provide some easy non-fiction books about chickens. Ask children to spot the differences in appearance and use. You could also use a short magazine article or comics and play "spot the differences".
  • If you have access to IT in the library you can use computers for a variety of activities too. There are several "storytelling websites" that can easily be found through a search engine. if you have an electronic library catalogue, you could introduce the children to this too and explain what it is used for.


RELAXATION & QUIET TIME

This can be a great way to start or end the school day.

Simply ask children to pick a book to look at quietly; supply cuddly toys and don't judge the children on which books they choose.

Let children listen to an extract from an audio book; allow them to sit or lie on a carpet and supply cushions for comfort.


FURTHER READING

Dawn Woods:  Start With the Youngest: The Library for Nursery and Infant Children. SLA 2009. (ISBN 9781903446515)

Information Literacy and the Primary School Library

Information literacy was commonly understood to be: 

"Knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner" (CILIP 2004) but this definition has recently been updated to: "Information literacy is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use. It empowers us as citizens to reach and express informed views and to engage fully with society." (CILIP 2018).

It makes sense to begin teaching information literacy skills at the beginning of the formal education process because children can pick up vital learning habits that will benefit them throughout their time in school and beyond.

Primary education focuses heavily on teaching literacy skills, which includes not only reading and writing but listening skills too. All of these can be supported by the library through reading sessions, story time, book clubs and author visits. This is perhaps seen as the classic role of primary school libraries, especially during the early years of formal education when children are learning to read and write.

Increasingly, however, there is a need for primary school libraries to get involved in the teaching of information (and media-) literacy, helping your pupils to find, access and use appropriate and relevant information, both in printed and online formats. The library's resources may determine the extent and manner in which it contributes to this but below are a few ideas to get you started. All of these activities should always be tailored to the needs of the children involved and can easily be adapted to suit a specific age group.

FINDING INFORMATION

In the age of Google it has been suggested that anybody with Internet access can find anything within a few seconds. It is vital, however, for children to become used to the concept of order, a system that once mastered allows them to be confident in their search, whatever they may be looking for. In other words, being able to locate resources in a library is a transferable skill which will benefit children throughout their lives.

Key aims: to familiarise pupils with the layout of a library; to build confidence in locating information in a variety of formats

This simple and fun activity can easily be tailored to fit a specific age or ability group and suit any topic, subject or key stage (thanks are due to Geoff Dubber for this suggestion).  Hand out topics to pupils and the simply ask them to explore the library and go on a "book hunt". This can be done in groups or as individuals and children should be encouraged to collect anything at all that they think may be linked to their topic. Artefacts, magazines and pictures can all be included. It may be useful to set the children a time limit. Get together at the end to look at what everybody has found in the library, pointing out different locations, different genres and different formats.

EVALUATING INFORMATION

Key aims: To introduce the pupils to a variety of different media; to encourage critical assessment of printed or online material.

Find out what projects or topics are studied over a term by a specific class. Select a few relevant books and/or artefacts and display them prominently in the library. These books could be fiction or non-fiction and include anything at all that links in with the topic covered. Pictures from magazines or newspaper articles work well too. Reading levels vary greatly at this age so you should include very basic picture books as well as a couple of easy information books. You could ask the teacher to bring the children in for a lesson in which you tell them about the materials. Ask the children which of them they would like to look at, individually or in groups. Then ask them to rate their books (or articles), using a simple system, such as stars to colour in for younger children or a dedicated evaluation sheet with a tick list for older years.

If you have computers in your library or can book an IT room, you can do the same with a few selected websites, suitable for the age of the children. Asking the pupils to choose the site with the most information, the best layout, the easiest accessibility and anything else you can think of encourages them to think critically about the sources of information available to them. Inspiring pupils to think about the quality of the information they look at will improve their ability to recognise and choose appropriate sources for any topic they are researching in the future.

USING INFORMATION

Key aims: To introduce the concept of a research strategy; To familiarise pupils with the idea of keywords

Simply asking pupils to plan their research can have a big impact. A quickly designed sheet with "First I will... Then I must... After that I can..." will encourage students to have a more planned approach to any task they are undertaking. The library is an ideal learning environment for this because students will learn to pace themselves and not get overwhelmed by the information available to them.  It's a nice idea to display these planners in the library alongside the finished homework or project.

Another popular activity is to create a wordlist for a topic. For this you need a number of relevant materials for a topic currently studied. Talk about keywords, the words that are the key to understanding a topic. Then ask the children to create a list of important words from the books or articles you have pre-selected, writing down the meaning of each word. This could form part of a display or a project folder. This could also tie in with a homework. Show the children an index in a non-fiction book and explain what it is used for. Older children can create their own indexes from their wordlists.

COMMUNICATING INFORMATION

Key aims: To teach pupils about ethical use of information

Introducing the concepts of plagiarism and intellectual property at such a young age can seem like a tall order. However, it is important for children to realise that information cannot simply be copied. This activity makes this quite clear to them. The idea for this activity originally came from Geoff Dubber.

Ask every child to draw a picture of their house. Then let children swap the pictures so that each pupil has a picture of a house which they have not drawn themselves in front of them. Now ask students to write "My house" and their own name on the picture. Then choose a few pictures at random, commenting on them, praising the person whose name is on the sheet (because how would you know that it wasn't them who drew the house?). Ask students how they feel about this.

Is it right to receive praise for something you have not done yourself? (this happens when you copy somebody else's work)

Is it right to not receive any praise for something you have done well? (this happens when your work is copied by somebody else without acknowledgement)

Therefore, children should be conscious that somebody has written the books and websites they use and that the pupils, as much as possible, should give credit to these people. A simple bibliography, just writing down the author and titles of books and addresses of websites they use, is easily and quickly done, yet vital to foster ethical use of information. Like the research planner, this works best when it is an integral part of a project or homework.

There are many more approaches and ideas for teaching information literacy in the primary school library. For recommendations, ideas and photocopiable resources have a look at these Guidelines publications: 

Dubber, G. Cultivating Curiosity: Information Literacy Skills and the Primary School Library. SLA, 2018 (ISBN 9781911222156)

Health and Safety Checklist for early years library design

‘Early and regular consultation with the Health & Safety representative and/or any other appropriate officer is advised for all new library plans, schemes and alterations.' THE PRIMARY SCHOOL LIBRARY GUIDELINES Cilip 2002.

The checklist below is by no means intended to be exhaustive but is a starting point for addressing Health and Safety issues.

 YesNo
Emergency Planning  
Are there clearly marked Fire Exits  
Are the Fire Exits clear of obstructions?  
Is there a First Aid kit available?

  
Heating and Ventilation  
Is there adequate heating to maintain a comfortable temperature (between 18 - 21C)?  
Is there adequate ventilation from opening windows or mechanical air circulation?

  
Lighting  
Does the room have any natural light?  
Is the amount of light sufficient to read the books easily (including by pupils with limited sight)? 
 

Tables and Chairs
  

Are study tables the recommended height: 500mm for 3-5 year olds?

550mm for 5-7 year olds

600mm for 7-9 year olds

650mm for 9-13 year olds


  

Are study chairs the recommended height: 280mm for 3-5 year olds?

320mm for 5-7 year olds

360mm for 7-9 year olds

390mm for 9-13 year olds

  


Shelving

  
Is the shelving from a reputable library supplier?  
Does the shelving have rounded edges?  
Is the paint used on the shelving non-toxic?  
Is the shelving 1200mm or less in height?  
Is there a circulation gap of at least 1m between the rows of shelves?  
Are all the shelves secure with adequate fixings?  


ICT

  
Are all cables hidden or covered by a cable tidy or cable management system?  
Are the student desks and chairs the right height?  
Is the issue desk and chair the right height for adult users?  

Soft Furnishings
  
Are the floor surfaces non-slip?  
Are the covers of any soft furnishings fireproof?  
Are the covers washable or dry cleanable?  

Guidelines for a Primary School Library

LOCATION

The SLA recommends that the Library should be in a central location in the school with an entrance that is accessible to all pupils and staff, including any users with mobility difficulties.  The location of the School Library and the environment it provides is crucial in ensuring effective use by students and staff.  You may not always be able to influence where the library is situated, however, as many schools do not have the luxury of a large central area which can be dedicated to the library.  If this is the case in your school concentrate instead on making the very best use of the space you do have by carefully planning the layout and the arrangement of the stock.

  

ACCOMMODATION

When planning the layout take into consideration the space needed for:

The book stock

An optional small reference section

At least one computer with access to the internet and school network

Any film and audio stock

Artefacts

An area to issue books to pupils

Study tables and chairs

Informal seating if your library contains fiction books

Space to display books

It is also very useful to have a work area for staff and somewhere to store materials for book covering and labels etc.

The SLA recommends that a whole class should be able to be seated within the library at any one time.

  

SHELVING

Shelving should be attractive, flexible and have adjustable shelves and should always be purchased from a specialist library supplier. Adjustable shelves are vital as books come in all different sizes and shapes. Contact details for suppliers are available on the Library Equipment and Furniture information sheet.

Shelving units should be no more than 1200mm high.  Higher shelves would mean that books on the top shelves are not accessible to all pupils and in particular would not be accessible to wheelchair users. There should always be 1000mm of circulation space in front of and between shelving units.  This is a Health and Safety requirement.

You may also need kinder boxes for storing picture books and perhaps some paperback carousels if you decide to stock fiction in your library.

  

USEFUL RESOURCES

Designs for all reasons  by Michael Dewe and Sally Duncan SLA 2018 

The Primary School Library Guidelines   - this is an attractive and informative website for you to explore. 


Updated April 2018

Funding sources for the school library resource centre

  

POSSIBLE SOURCES OF FUNDING

  • Grants

Arts Council& National Lottery Funding

Funding streams vary from time to time. 

Better World Books Literacy Grants

Check website for timings.

 

Siobhan Dowd Trust grants    

Regular grants of smallish sums.  

 

Foyle FoundationFor state funded schools - primary schools are given priority.  

Will fund purchase of stock and LMS, but not shelving.

 

Grants Online.

A website which lists sources of funding. 

Parent Teacher Association 

Information if your school does not have an existing PTA

 

Paul Hamlyn Foundation

The Foundation supports innovation in educational practice to improve learning outcomes for young people in and out of school settings.

 

  • Competitions

      These vary from time to time, but regular competitions for books appear on these websites:

National Book Tokens

Scholastic  

SLA 

WBD James Patterson 

 

  • Donations of money

Local businesses

Corporates e.g. Tesco/Morrisons tokens

Round Table

Rotary Club

 

  • Donations of books.

WARNING Do Not Accept second hand unsuitable stock unless you sell it in a sale and use the money to purchase what you need.

From parents – new and second hand, good condition

Wish list Peters 

Wish list Amazon

When child leaves school (best to set up a wishlist)

In lieu of sweets on child’s birthday (more suitable for primary?)

Local bookshop

@Biggreenbooks

Booktrust

Time to Read for reception children

 BookBuzz titles every year for Y7 & 8

The Reading Agencyprogrammes    

 

  • Twitter community

Tends to be individual titles or a bundle from time to time

Authors

Bookshops

#buyastrangerabook

@BookBuddyUK

@WorldBookNight

 

  • Reviewing

@Readingzone individual titles for review or sets for book groups

@WRDmag

@toppsta

Direct to publishers

 

  • Raising money

PTA

School sales

Bag packing in supermarkets

Scholastic book fairs               

Read for Good is a sponsored reading scheme that benefits both schools and children in hospital. 

Support Your School - a crowd funding platform.

               

 Updated June 2019

Design Guidelines for a Secondary School Library

INTRODUCTION

The location of the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) or library, its size and its environment are crucial in ensuring its effective use by students and staff. Library location also speaks volumes about the status given to the library as a whole school resource. If it is one of the first things both visitors and school staff and pupils see on entering the school it can reinforce the message that independent learning and reading are given a high profile.

For more information have a look at our page on designing libraries, or our publications on this topic

Qualifications in Librarianship

Professional Librarian Qualifications


What do they mean?


MCLIP (Chartership) – can only be used by a chartered and fully paid up member of Cilip (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). Candidates will usually have a degree or post-graduate qualification in Library and Information studies and will have spent around 2 further years learning and studying ‘on the job’ and then have submitted a professional portfolio of work for assessment by CILIP.


Candidates should be able to provide a certificate of chartership and an up to date membership card from CILIP. To find out more please visit Cilip's website.


When MCLIP is combined with a suitable period of experience in a school library environment it is recommended that candidates have Head of Department status.


ACLIP (Certification) – is a qualification earned by library staff, who do not have a degree or post-graduate qualification in Library and Information studies - although many are graduates in other disciplines. They have considerable experience of working in libraries and have used that experience to prepare a professional portfolio of work for assessment by CILIP. Candidates should be able to provide a certificate of certification and an up to date membership card from CILIP. To find out more please visit Cilip's website.


FCLIP (Fellowship) – is the highest level of professional qualification awarded by CILIP and is only given to librarians who have shown a high level of commitment to and achievement in their professional life. To find out more please visit Cilip's website.


Vocational Qualifications – Level 2 is an entry level qualification suitable for a library assistant working with a more experienced or more qualified member of staff. It focuses on the routine tasks common to most libraries.


Level 3 has a more managerial element to it and shows that candidates have reached the level suitable to manage a library unsupervised.

Salary Scales for School Library Staff

NJC pay scales 
 ( PDF = njc-pay-scales-20190615.pdf )


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.

 

Annual Leave

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

Status of the Librarian/Library Manager

The School Library Association believes that the Librarian/Library Manager should:

  • have Head of Department status, in order that he/she can play a full part in school development and act effectively and in a proactive manner to support the developing needs of all departments
  • be included in staff and/or senior leader meetings to enable the Librarian to raise and discuss relevant issues, maintaining the high profile of the library across the school
  • be line-managed by a member of the School Management/Leadership Team with curricular responsibilities
  • have the status and authority to employ strategies for the effective management of the library in accordance with all school policies eg Health and Safety, Behaviour, Discipline, Inclusion etc.
  • have the authority to manage the library budget in accordance with school procedures and principles of best value
  • produce some reports to show impact and activity in the library, ideally tied to the school's aims and objectives
  • have some activity within both reading for pleasure and information literacy, or know why this isn't a priority for them/the school.


And in terms of professional development should:

  • have the same entitlement to INSET and Continuing Professional Development opportunities as teaching staff
  • be included in the school's staff appraisal programme
  • be allowed time to network with other School Librarians in the area, attend relevant meetings and actively participate in professional groups outside their school.

The Role of the School Librarian

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:

  • a partner with teaching staff in the education process
  • a partner in supporting individual learning behaviours
  • an acknowledged expert in resource and information provision and management
  • a leader and partner with teaching staff in the collaborative design and implementation of information literacy programmes throughout the school
  • a leader in creating and developing a climate to promote and support reading for pleasure across the school
  • an acknowledged partner with all departments to effectively support and resource each key stage
  • a partner in out of hours learning.


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.

Position Statements

These Position Statements have been produced by the SLA Board as a record of what the Association recommends on the topics listed below. Please use them to advocate for your library  and your staff and your own position in your school. These documents are available to all.

Dual Use Libraries

(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:


Access

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.


Security

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.


Staffing

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

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.


Budget

The budget may be held by the school or by the public library service. Ideally both should contribute an agreed proportion of it.


Management

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.

Positive Behaviour Management within the Library

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:

  • take part in whole school in-service training sessions on behaviour management within the school
  • receive support via the mentoring scheme for newly qualified teachers to discuss concerns and solutions in a supportive atmosphere
  • have the status and authority to employ strategies for behaviour management within the library, in accordance with whole school policies.
  • have the authority to produce a library specific code of conduct as part of the whole school behavioural management policy
  • be aware of Health and Safety issues – for pupils and staff
  • have the authority to exercise his/her judgement regarding the acceptable number of pupils using the library at any one time, in order to maintain a safe and effective learning atmosphere. This number might vary from situation to situation, depending on the range of pupils using the library and the diverse activities in which they may be engaged
  • an additional adult cover from the duty staff team at break and lunchtime openings
  • have appropriately trained and supported staff available to cover the library in his/her absence


February 2019

The Purpose of a School Library

The School Library Association believes that the purpose of a school library is:

  • to provide a flexible space with a wide and inclusive range of resources to support learning and teaching throughout the school.
  • to have a vibrant role in the development of a culture that promotes wider reading, motivated readers and learners for life.
  • to provide a place for collaborative learning, creativity, and for developing independent research and information literacy skills.
  • To achieve this it should managed by staff who are supported and have access to training; be funded and be accessible to the whole school community during and outside the school day.

Staffing for Primary School Libraries

The School Library Association believes that:

  • primary school libraries should be open and staffed for as much of the school week as possible, including lunchtimes and before and after school
  • ideally, this staffing should come from a trained librarian, who may be shared between a small number of schools. 

Some possible models are:


  • a teacher as Library Manager, with a regular allowance of time for library tasks and management of the budget, supported by classroom assistant(s) who carry out the day-to-day routines and staff the library on a day-to-day basis
  • the library both managed and staffed by an experienced and knowledgeable member of the non-teaching staff, ideally with an NVQ or equivalent qualification in information and library work.
  • a multi-academy trust, consortium or group of schools may have a librarian to oversee the management, with teaching assistants supporting the library to open for pupils. 

In all scenarios, the services and support of the professional staff of the local School Library Service (where available) will be essential.


June 2019

‘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.

Supervision of Pupils

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. 

Use of Volunteers in the Library

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

Adult volunteers

  • They are welcome, but should not replace appointed members of staff
  • Parent volunteers can be excellent advocates for the library
  • Volunteers should receive appropriate training
  • Volunteers should have a written statement which describes their role and what is expected of them and includes guidance on their interaction with pupils and staff
  • Volunteers must always conform to the school's policies on volunteers on the premises and with all general school policies - especially the Health and Safety Policy and should be DBS checked (checks are free for volunteers)
  • A risk assessment for the library should be undertaken and any problems highlighted should be addressed prior to the volunteers commencing their duties.

Pupil volunteers

  • Using pupils as volunteer library assistants can be good for their personal development
  • Methods of recruitment need to be considered to ensure the widest range of pupils are given the opportunity to apply
  • Pupil volunteers should be given appropriate training and recognition
  • Pupil volunteers should have a written statement which describes their role and what is expected of them and includes guidance on their interaction with fellow pupils and staff
  • A risk assessment for the library should be undertaken and any problems highlighted should be addressed prior to the pupils commencing their duties
  • Pupils should not be given access to private information regarding other pupils. 

IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

Adult volunteers

  • They are welcome, but should not replace appointed members of staff
  • Parent volunteers can be excellent advocates for the library
  • Volunteers should come into school for a specific purpose - such as to assist with clerical duties. They should not act as decision makers
  • Volunteers should receive appropriate training from an appointed member of the library staff
  • Volunteers should have a written statement which describes their role and what is expected of them and includes guidance on their interaction with pupils and staff
  • Volunteers must always conform to the school's policies on volunteers on the premises and with all general school policies - especially the Health and Safety Policy and should be DBS checked (checks are free for volunteers)
  • A risk assessment for the library should be undertaken and any problems highlighted should be addressed prior to the volunteers commencing their duties
  • Volunteers should not be permitted access to information regarding pupils

Pupil volunteers

  • Using pupils as volunteer library assistants can be good for their personal development
  • Pupil involvement in the library, including as volunteer library assistants, is regarded favourably by Ofsted
  • Methods of recruitment need to be considered to endure the widest range of pupils are given the opportunity to apply
  • Pupil volunteers should be given appropriate training by an appointed member of the library staff
  • Pupil volunteers should have a written statement which describes their role and what is expected of them and includes guidance on their interaction with fellow pupils and staff
  • Appropriate recognition of their work, e.g records of achievement, should be ensured
  • A risk assessment for the library should be undertaken and any problems highlighted should be addressed prior to the pupils commencing their duties

Salary Scales for School Library Staff

NJC pay scales 
 ( PDF = njc-pay-scales-20190615.pdf )


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.

 

Annual Leave

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 Role of the School Librarian

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:

  • a partner with teaching staff in the education process
  • a partner in supporting individual learning behaviours
  • an acknowledged expert in resource and information provision and management
  • a leader and partner with teaching staff in the collaborative design and implementation of information literacy programmes throughout the school
  • a leader in creating and developing a climate to promote and support reading for pleasure across the school
  • an acknowledged partner with all departments to effectively support and resource each key stage
  • a partner in out of hours learning.


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.

Learning about Libraries: A Training Course for Primary School Library Coordinators

The Learning about Libraries Programme is an online training course suitable for anyone working in a primary school library. It is designed to be followed independently and to be compatible with day to day work commitments. It is intended to complement training courses provided by local Schools Library Services and by the SLA.

The course consists of 6 modules, broken down into a number of Units. Participants need to undertake 4 modules altogether to obtain the final certificate from the School Library Association. Module 2 and Module 6 are compulsory as the SLA believe that managing the books effectively is an absolutely vital element in any good primary school library and evaluation and action planning are equally vital for improving the library.

It is recommended that all participants start with Module 2. There is also the additional option of undertaking all 6 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.

All candidates who register for the course will receive an initial pack when they enrol on the Programme, which includes a reading list and how to prepare material for assessment.

Costs

Each module has an administration fee of £50 (for SLA members) or £150 (for non members) and the final assessment and certification is £15 - so to gain the SLA certificate would cost £215. The fee is to cover the costs of marking and assessing the work and postage costs.

Introduction to Learning about Libraries Programme