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If you or your school are not yet a member of the SLA, please visit the Join page using the button above, 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 few for you to use.
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.
Most modern lending libraries now operate an electronic management system and no longer use card catalogues or issue books. There are many reasons for this and investing in an electronic library management system is worth serious consideration, for all schools, no matter what the size, even if the initial cost and time expense of setting it up can seem daunting.
An electronic management system allows:
• smooth and fast borrowing and returning processes, possibly self-issue
• an easily searchable catalogue, encouraging the use of keywords and search strategies
• a multi-media approach to displaying information
• easy tracing of stock
• collecting statistics of stock use and borrowing behaviour
• remote access to the library’s resources
Once it has been set up, an electronic management system will save time and therefore staff costs. Below are a few ideas which should help you to decide on an issue system and deal with the initial installation.
The cost for the new management system is a big factor in the decision about purchasing and has to be considered carefully. Beyond the installation and training costs, it's worth finding out annual running costs for different systems, including updates, labels and additional software for scanners.
It is important to consider who will be using the system and what they will be using it for. A safe, user-friendly and logical management system enables children as well as non-library staff to use it for searching for resources. You may want to consider the possibility of providing self-issue terminals too to support independence.
It's also desirable for the system to come with technical support as you may not have the time or inclination to deal with technical issues yourself.
Is your stock catalogued already? If you are migrating from a different computerised system, it is obviously worth checking compatibility. If your stock is not catalogued, every item will need to be added to stock manually, so you should consider functions which lessen the time needed for the initial set-up, such as automatic cataloguing.
Your library management system should be able to accommodate a range of different media, from picture books, read along books with CDs as well as novels, audio-books, non-fiction and reference items. Even if you do not have all of these in your library, you want your system to be flexible enough to cope with a range of formats.
The database of borrowers needs to accommodate classes as well as individuals, teachers and students. It's important to be able to set different allowances and loan periods for each group and generate printed or email reminders for overdue items.Many systems allow you to import data directly from your school's administration database, so check the compatibility of different software.
Comparing different systems
Once you have created your personal wish list and spoken to your school managers about budget, timescale and IT requirements, you can compare different systems in detail. All companies will be happy to send you information and many offer online demonstrations of their system.
Questions to ask
Many systems are similar in terms of functionality. The less you pay, the less functionality there will be.
Major things to check are:
• How is the database constructed (this may affect speed) and can you personalise the front end for students and staff?
• Will it run on your existing computers?• Is there an option to be cloud based?
• If you are a multi-site school will it be possible to run one system to cover all sites?
• Will you be able to treat each site as a separate entity but still search across the sites and be able to return items at any of the sites?
• How easy is it to search - does it allow for poor spelling?
• How easy is it to catalogue – from where does it draw automated cataloguing records and how comprehensive is this?
• How does it account for overdues - can you email as well as print and have flexibility over who they go to?
• Does it sync with your school management system so when pupils join/leave you receive updates in realtime/weekly/termly?
• Does it support single sign on so there are no issues around students remembering passwords and this encourages use?
• What reports are offered as templates, or the ability to create your own?
• Can you find out easily what and how much students/classes are borrowing and how often they use the system?
• How easy is the circulation?
• Can users make reservations remotely?
Shortlist systems to suit your school needs and talk to other schools who use these systems.
Popular School Systems:
Abracadabra- for primary and secondary school libraries and special schools
Access-IT Software - for primary and secondary school libraries and special schools
Abbey House, 18-24 Stoke Road, Berkshire, SL2 5AG
Tel: 0203 617 9908
Autolib- for secondary schools
19 Angelvale Business Park, Top Angel, Buckingham, MK18 1TH
Tel: 01280 820 080
Bailey Solutions Limited, Curtis House, 34 Third Avenue, Hove BN3 2PD
Tel: 01273 386 849
Simple Little Library System - easy to use library software for primary schools
KnowAll Matrix - powerful library software for secondary schools and FE colleges
Follett Destiny - used extensively in the US and some international schools
Outside US Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heritage - for secondary schools
IS Oxford, The Chapel, 3 Armstrong Road, Littlemore, Oxon, OX4 4XT
Tel: 01865 481000
PSP Asset Protection Ltd, Unit 2 Manor Farm Business Centre, Manor Lane, Stutton, Ipswich, IP9 2TD
Tel: 01473 745 375
Email: via enquiry form https://psp-assetprotection.co.uk/contact/#form
Koha is an open source library system, generally thought of as free. However, to use properly in a school, it will need to be paid for at similar prices to other systems.
An open source library system marketed as free. No reports of usage in schools.
Suitable for primary and special schools
Libresoft Librarian- for primary and secondary school libraries and special schools
Tel: 0330 223 4020
MOL Sp. Z.o.o., Slaska, 35 – 37, 81 – 310 Gdynia, Poland
Tel +48 58 669 80 70
Pergamon Mu for primary and special schools
Please contact your nearest SLS to enquire, even if you do not regularly subscribe to them.
You can find your nearest here https://www.sla.org.uk/school-library-services
Reading Cloud- for primary and secondary school libraries and special schools
Education Software Solutions Ltd
Eastwood House, Glebe Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1RS
Tel: 0161 449 9357
Softlink - Oliver for secondary schools
Softlink - Scout - for primary school libraries and special schools
Softlink Europe Ltd, 6 Langdale Court, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 6FG
Tel: 01993 883401
Tel: 01256 300790
Address:Applied Network Solutions Limited
The Innovation Centre, Norden House, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG
Updated March 2022
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 Librarian/Library Manager should:
And in terms of professional development should:
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.