Raising the profile of your school library
The importance of having a vibrant, well used library in any educational setting is well documented. Sadly however, some libraries are not highly valued, well-resourced or well used, and in these cases, it can be a real battle to justify budgets, retain staffing levels, and fulfill the library’s role of supporting learning. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to raise the profile of your library and show exactly how crucial it is to learning and achievement across the entire school.
Make your library visible
Have a strong online presence 24/7 with your Accessit Library Web App on all types of devices. Regularly share the link to your Web App far and wide, in social media channels, online learning spaces, school newsletters and on the school website. Share links to individual resources, Quick Lists and entire Topic Boards to ‘drive’ your school community to your Web App.
Develop a library brand. Choose a colour theme for your Web App, social media channels, and all your promotional materials such as books marks, reading lists, information sheets, posters and signage. Use consistent wording when promoting library programmes and services. If design isn’t your thing enlist the help of your students and run a competition to create a library logo, and remember to revisit your branding regularly and update it when it starts to look a bit tired.
Have a physical library presence at school events, such as parent/teacher evenings, open days and school fairs. This could be by attending in person, or by having a display of some kind promoting library services.
Have a library presence everywhere around the school. Put posters up next to the canteen queue, in the sports changing rooms, in corridors and in classrooms. Take library resources around the school and use the Accessit Library Web App to issue from teaching spaces, the staff room and even the playground at break times.
Speak up and be heard
Attend and be involved in full staff, department, school board/management, and alumni meetings as often as you can. Find ways to have morning tea and chat with your teaching colleagues whenever possible. Host a regular morning or afternoon tea for staff in the library – you could then show them new curriculum resources, give mini professional learning sessions on using the Web App and other library services, or entice them with some reading suggestions.
Offer to speak at school assemblies to promote books, events and library services. Present badges or certificates to your student helpers (there are some great certificate templates that you can download from the Accessit Library e-Learning Centre). And if you have senior student librarians or library prefects, ask them to talk to classes and assemblies
Ask for 10 minutes during class visits to the library so that you can talk to students as a group about new or exciting books, or show them how to write book reviews or use One Search on the Web App.
Share your success stories using video, photos, quotes, infographics and add these as news items on your Web App. Show your stakeholders how the library benefits learning in your school. Collect statistics and other feedback on your library programmes and events, and use that information to further develop library services. Produce formal and informal reports for your school management. Accessit Library has a comprehensive range of statistical reports to assist you with this.
Engage your entire school community
By engaging learners, school staff, parents and families, management and other school stakeholders you are developing a group of loyal (and hopefully vocal) library supporters.
Ensure your library is welcoming, attractive and easy to use. Keep your displays, signage, posters and of course your collection up to date. Target any library competitions and events to the whole school, not just your regular library visitors.
Keep your Web App looking fresh by adding news items to promote new books and self-populating carousels of recently reviewed, returned or new resources. Engage your learners with current events like Book Week or World Environment Day using carousels, news items and Topic Boards.
Create Topic Boards in your Web App to provide easy access to relevant and in-demand resources for classes, year levels/grades, parents, teachers, and subject areas. You could also set up Topic Boards to cater for other interests at school, such as STEM, sports, cultural and book groups.
Give your Web App the ‘wow’ factor by encouraging library users to write reviews and embedding interactive content. You can use some of the great resources we’ve shared in our Customer Portal and the Accessit Library e-Learning Centre to get you started.
Listen to your school community and provide the things they want as much as you possibly can. Create bookshop-style displays and make your library as user-friendly and reader-centred as possible. Try more generous lending periods and borrower limits, and allow parents and others in the wider school community to borrow from the library. Gather feedback via surveys posted on your Web App, and then act on that feedback.
Ensure all your resources are easy to find and access in your Web App. Retrospectively update your catalogue records in bulk, so that all your resources have relevant subject headings and keywords/tags, or quickly tidy your authority files to ensure consistency. Create Quick Lists and carousels and promote the use of Visual Search and One Search.
Develop teachers and parents as readers by sharing reading suggestions, particularly around holiday times. Encourage adults to be good reading role models for your learners.
Collaborate with your teaching colleagues. Offer to run information literacy sessions for their classes that tie-in with current curriculum topics, alert staff to relevant resources using My Interests, and encourage their use of Web App features such as My List, bookings and reserves. Provide easy access to curriculum resources in the Web App via Quick Lists, Visual Search and Topic Boards and encourage your staff to share these with their students.
In addition to all of the above, it can be helpful to do as much as you can to enhance your own professional standing within your school. Have formal library policies such as a strategic plan and a collection development policy to guide the day-to-day management of your library. Seize opportunities to attend professional learning events, webinars and meetings, and then share what you learn and put it into practice. Try to keep up to date with what’s happening in the library world by reading library and education journals and following the social media of professional organisations in your region.
At Accessit we love libraries and we’re here to help you to make the most of yours. For assistance with using any of the features mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly Customer Support Team or check out the information in our Customer Portal.
- Beyer, S. (2018). Getting your school library out there. [online] natlib.govt.nz. Available at: https://natlib.govt.nz/blog/posts/getting-your-school-library-out-there [Accessed 4 Jul. 2021].
- Holzweiss, K. and Evans, S. (2018). Hacking school libraries : 10 ways to incorporate library media centers into your learning community. Highland Heights, Ohio: Times 10 Publications.
- Miller, S. (2020). NYCDOE: Sharing Your Story…Creating A Brand and Advocating For Your Library. [online] www.youtube.com. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhNzsqDxqZ8 [Accessed 5 Jul. 2021].