Save Ayrshire School Libraries

East Ayrshire’s Secondary School Librarians – A vital cog in the Education System.

By An Insider

“At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better…. we all have responsibilities as parents, as librarians, as educators, as politicians, and as citizens to instil in our children a love of reading so that we can give them a chance to fulfil their dreams.”

-        Barack Obama[1]

“Librarians are almost always very helpful and often almost absurdly knowledgeable. Their skills are probably very underestimated and largely underemployed.”

-        Charles Medawar[2]

“What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.”
-  Harold Howe, former US Commissioner of Education[3]

  1. 1. Executive Summary

This submission, in response to East Ayrshire Council’s Budget Consultation 2011/12 proposal 36b, argues that the plan to remove qualified librarians from all secondary schools in East Ayrshire would have a major detrimental effect on each school’s ability to provide a quality library service to both pupils and staff. It highlights exactly what school librarians undertake to achieve both in the realm of Curriculum for Excellence, and for the good of the school as a whole. It also comments on the individual nature of school librarians’ work, each tailored to schools’ specific requirements.  This submission points out that many of the librarian’s duties could not be performed by unqualified library assistants, and that the proposed posts of two chartered librarians would be unable to assist in any meaningful way. Finally, it suggests alternative methods of achieving budget savings whilst preserving the level of service offered by qualified school librarians in each school.

  1. 2. Introduction

This document has been produced in response to East Ayrshire Council’s “Budget Consultation 2011/12” proposal[4], released on 1 December 2010. In this, the Council projects a budget deficit for the financial year 2011/12 of £7.777m and proposes to make the following savings to counteract this deficit: £4.290m from Management Action, and £4.495m from Changes to Services – a total potential saving of £8.785m. Thus the savings proposed would be in excess of the deficit by £1.008m which “…will allow for some flexibility within the consultation process…”[5]

Proposal 36b states that £60,000 would be saved by “A restructuring of the library support services across schools to deliver a service supported by two chartered librarian and seven library assistant posts.”

This document will provide evidence to support the case that such a proposal, if implemented in its present form, would have a severely detrimental effect on the learning and educational prospects of secondary school children throughout East Ayrshire. The successful delivery of A Curriculum for Excellence would be hindered and both pupils and staff would lose a valuable and unique resource within each school: the full time services of a professionally qualified school librarian.

This study will highlight some of the many areas to which school librarians contribute: it will stress the differences in expectations and service levels between qualified librarians and library assistants, and it will propose alternative scenarios which would preserve the position and expertise of school librarians, whilst still making considerable financial savings.

  1. 3. The Current Situation

Currently, each of the nine secondary schools in east Ayrshire has a full time post of qualified school librarian at salary scale G8.  At one of these schools (Cumnock Academy) the post has been unfilled since June 2008. Of the other eight positions, six post-holders are chartered librarians, whilst the other two are held by librarians working towards chartership. There is no difference in the workload, expectations or salary scale between chartered and un-chartered school librarians. All school librarians hold an ordinary or honours degree, plus a post-graduate qualification or master’s degree in Librarianship and/or Information Studies. School librarians in East Ayrshire are rightly considered to be important non-teaching members of staff. Some have been designated to have equal status as Principal Teachers or Heads of Department.

School librarians in East Ayrshire are solo workers – i.e. no other members of staff are employed by the school to assist them. However, almost all school librarians welcome and encourage the use of pupil library assistants, during lunchtimes and other periods, where pupils can assist with routine matters such as shelving and tidying, and also to be engaged in other projects as the librarian sees fit. Many pupils enjoy this responsibility and welcome the opportunities to get involved in the administration of the library.

Whilst each school may have a qualified or chartered school librarian, the posts by their very nature differ slightly from establishment to establishment. Each librarian brings his or her own experience, skills and strengths to the position, and each Senior Management Team (SMT) requires and expects differing levels of support, advice, ‘teaching’ and student interaction from the position.

The many differing areas to which school librarians in East Ayrshire contribute are discussed in more detail in section 5.

Currently, the guidelines for school librarians’ duties in East Ayrshire are covered by Standard Circular No 84 (May 2002) – see Appendix 1.

  1. 4. Proposal 36b & its implications

Since the job specifications and descriptions for two chartered librarians and seven school library assistants have not yet been written – or if they have, are not available to view – the following must be a matter of conjecture. However, with nine secondary schools across East Ayrshire, it is reasonable to assume that one of the two chartered librarians would be positioned in the north of the area, and the other in the south. Graham Short, Executive Director of Education and Social Services, intimated during a meeting on 26 November 2010 that each of the chartered librarians would have a supervisory role over the library assistants, presumably on a 4-3 split. He further suggested that the library assistant positions would be term time only, but was unsure of the proposed status of the chartered librarian positions.

If the above assumptions are proved to be broadly correct, a number of questions and comments should be raised. These include:

i – Seven secondary schools would enjoy the services of a full time (term only) library assistant. Two schools would enjoy a proportion of a chartered librarian’s time, but that school library would be left unstaffed and potentially closed during the absences of the librarian due to their supervisory role.  There would, therefore, be a huge discrepancy between the level of service and support offered at differing schools throughout the council area. Furthermore, it would be reasonable to assume that the chartered librarian having a remit over four library assistants would have a heavier workload than the one who covered three other schools.  Would the SMT of all schools be happy that some schools are receiving more librarian support and others less? Would members of Parent and Pupil Councils, and Community Councils, be happy to learn that some schools have better library provision than others?              ii – How much of the workload of the current qualified librarians would the two chartered librarians be expected to take on – activities such as budgeting, stock selection and purchasing, cataloguing, withdrawal of out of date stock, etc – for all school libraries under their remit? How much would these responsibilities impinge on the effective running of their own library? iii – Would the two chartered librarians be expected to take over the “non-term” work currently carried out by full time qualified librarians (assuming that the chartered librarian posts are not to be made term time only)? Tasks such as the writing of annual reports, stock takes, major library re-organisations, the writing of suggested reading lists and other information resources can only be completed satisfactorily when the library is closed, i.e. during school holidays. Can the two chartered librarians really be expected to complete these tasks for five and four school libraries respectively? iv – During the above meeting with Mr Short, he suggested that those qualified librarians who were unsuccessful in obtaining a chartered librarian’s position – or perhaps were prevented from applying due to not yet being chartered – would be able to apply for a position as school library assistant. Apart from the ignominy of applying for a position holding a salary of approximately £10,000 p.a. less than currently held, this could cause further discrepancies between service levels in different schools. A qualified librarian, being employed as a library assistant, will automatically offer a better, more thorough, more rounded level of service than an unqualified library assistant. Some of the current school librarians may feel themselves forced to apply for these positions – or face potential redeployment into a non-library position or, eventually, potential redundancy. These librarians are qualified, dedicated, professional people. They would be very unlikely to sit back and say “No, I’m not doing that any more – I’m a library assistant now.” So those schools who end up with a library assistant who used to be a librarian will continue to receive some of the benefits associated with their former status (at a large salary saving) – whilst those who employ a library assistant with no formal library or information skills training will undoubtedly receive a lower level of service.  Therefore this scenario would create further problems with varying levels of library provision across different schools.

It follows, therefore, that there are many unanswered questions, and real logistical problems, with the council’s plan to replace nine school librarians with seven library assistants and two chartered librarians.  If the job specifications for these positions have not yet been written, it seems unfair on the members of the cabinet to approve such a radical change to school library provision in East Ayrshire, without knowing in detail what type of untried and unplanned system is being proposed as a replacement.

  1. 5. School Librarians – the reality and the evidence

So what do school librarians in East Ayrshire actually do? Obviously, their main duty is to provide, professionally, with empathy, skill and dedication, a school library and information centre to the benefit of all pupils and staff.  However, as mentioned in section 3, each individual school librarian offers much more than a mere book lending service, on an individual, tailored-to-suit basis. Some of the additional services, considered an integral part of 21st century library provision include:

  • Teaching information skills, including critical, responsible and ethical use of the internet, to contribute to life-long learning for individuals. This is a fundamental element of
    Curriculum for Excellence.
  • Developing GLOW, an intranet based learning tool sponsored by the Scottish Government for the use of all pupils in Scottish schools. Some school librarians are their school’s GLOW Champions.
  • Developing pupils’ and teachers’ IT and research skills on a one to one basis.
  • Providing support for Curriculum for Excellence by identifying and providing access to resources relevant and appropriate to a large number of curriculum areas.
  • Easing pressure on teaching staff by assisting in delivering library-based lessons and activities.
  • Being involved in the school’s Improvement Plan.
  • Running a variety of book and reading groups for both staff and pupils.
  • Cataloguing and classifying resources across a variety of physical and electronic formats.
  • Promoting literacy and reading for pleasure by various means, including the annual Reader’s Cup Inter-school Quiz competitions and the Spring Read Book Festival. These important events are planned, resourced, financed, organised and implemented solely by the school librarians. Some school librarians also seek external funding for events such as accompanied pupil trips to the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Most school librarians will organise events to coincide with World Book Day, International School Library Day, Non-fiction Week, the announcement of shortlists for and winners of major local, national and international book awards such as the Carnegie Medal, Royal Mail Book Award, etc.
  • Spending time with pupils, often on a one to one basis, to meet their literacy needs and to provide reading challenges and direction. Such assistance and focus can only be effective and successful through a wide and up to date knowledge of current trends in children’s and young adult literature. This involves digesting, and in some cases writing new book reviews for both newspapers and journals. Many school librarians try to read as many new books as possible before cataloguing them into stock to allow suitability, relevance and age range to be gauged.
  • Keeping abreast of developments within professional librarianship through a variety of academic journals.
  • Opening the library before and after school, and during lunch time to offer a warm, welcoming, safe, inclusive and stimulating place for all pupils to socialise, complete homework assignments and to follow independent interests and hobbies. For pupils with challenging home circumstances, the school library may be the only place where they can feel secure enough to study.
  • Fully contributing to school groups and committees such as the Active Learning Committee, ICT Committee, Literacy Across the Curriculum Working Group, Peace and Justice Group and Learning Resources Committee.
  • Designing, managing and contributing to school websites, library blogs and wiki pages.
  • Fully contributing to extra curricular activities such as taking pupils sailing with the Ocean Youth Trust, organizing Holocaust Memorial Day and Remembrance Day events, taking pupils to stay with the Iona community, helping with school shows, assisting and aiding publication of school yearbooks, etc.
  • Administering, maintaining, running and improving school archives, including undertaking research on behalf of former pupils and descendants of same: fielding inquiries of a genealogical nature; and commemorating, highlighting and educating pupils about famous or noteworthy former pupils and staff, thus ensuring the continued preservation of schools’ histories.
  • Having close involvement in the planned and timetabled P7 to S1 transition period, including arranging and hosting guided tours of the library for parents of prospective S1 pupils.
  • Assisting associated primary feeder schools with their own library provision, giving advice on layouts, policy, stock and curriculum management.
  • Keeping abreast of current changes to the curriculum and the implications these may have on library demands.
  • Keeping staff – both teaching and non-teaching – aware and informed of relevant events and trends. For instance, in some schools all members of staff receive a weekly email from the school librarian highlighting articles of interest in the current issue of the Times Educational Supplement (Scotland).
  • Providing courses for CPD (Continuing Professional Development) for staff.
  • Supporting pupils’ vocational education and preparing them for work. This is aided by the provision of a separate careers library, with up to date prospectuses for Further and Higher education, details of apprenticeships and funding, and information about university open days.
  • Working with groups of pupils on tasks set by teachers, supporting gifted and talented pupils as well as those with individual learning needs, thus assisting schools to achieve differentiation across all teaching groups.
  • Liaising with teachers regarding materials required for lessons.

All the above tasks are provided by some or all of the school librarians in East Ayrshire. One major role that is performed by all school librarians, however, is that of “Reading Champion.” Each librarian, in their own way, aims to be a visible role model for reading for pleasure, leading their school to raise literacy levels in and out of the classroom. This function, which includes promoting not only books, but all the other resources the library has to offer, such as magazines, newspapers, graphic and electronic resources, is vital in the development of independent, life-long learners and literate, well-informed citizens.

So what evidence can be brought forward to highlight the importance of qualified school librarians to an efficient, well run and inspiring school library?

In 2010, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), along with the National Literacy Trust, established The School Library Commission, chaired by Baroness Estelle Morris. The Commission’s stated agenda is to “ensure school libraries are delivering exceptional services to help young people reach their potential”.[6]

The Commission’s report, “School Libraries: A Plan for Improvement”[7], taking into account 17,000 pieces of evidence has plenty to say not only on the importance of school librarians, but concerning how much more they could be doing to assist literacy levels. Page 13 quotes:

“The impact of a knowledgeable and well qualified librarian on all aspects of the service, including the quality of the stock, should not be underestimated…The Commission believes that the skills of the school librarian are crucial to unlocking the potential of the school library.”

The Executive Summary of the report (page 4) concludes with:

“…a series of strong recommendations directed to Governors, headteachers, sector bodies and local authorities which, if implemented, would improve literacy and attainment levels. All the recommendations aim to make school libraries more focused on supporting the educational objectives of the school by promoting literacy and access to knowledge.”

The report has plenty to say concerning the effectiveness of school libraries, and how many fail to deliver their potential. It highlights areas where school librarians need more help and support. For instance, on page 8 it suggests that school librarians should be

“…positioning themselves as part of the teaching staff in the school – working with senior management and heads of department to identify how they can collectively support learning and teaching and reviewing their contribution against the goals and targets of the whole school.”

In the autumn 2010 edition of “The School Librarian”, Lynn Barrett[8] pulled together a number of different pieces of research on “Effective School Libraries”, not just from the UK, but also Canada, the USA and Australia. She concluded that there are four main factors which are key to achieving an effective school library. They are:

  • Professional librarian with educational expertise
  • Information literacy teaching
  • Integration into the curriculum through librarian / teacher collaboration
  • Support of heads and policy makers.

She goes on to say that all school librarians need to:

  • Be highly qualified professionals
  • Be learning specialists
  • Work collaboratively with teachers
  • Be information mediators
  • Teach the skills of information literacy within the context of the curriculum
  • Be reading experts
  • Inspire, encourage, create, and model high quality learning experiences
  • Be leaders in schools, regarded on a par with teaching colleagues

Why does literacy matter? In 2009, the “Every Child a Chance” trust, funded by KPMG, published the 2nd edition of their report “The Long Term Costs of Literacy Difficulties”[9]. On page 5, the Executive Summary states

“The research reviewed shows that literacy difficulties are linked to costly special educational needs provision, to truancy, exclusion from school, reduced employment opportunities, increased health risks and a greatly increased risk of involvement with the criminal justice system. These increased risks operate over and above those associated with social disadvantage in general, and those associated with lack of qualifications”.

That is why literacy matters. Enabling all children to achieve high levels of literacy through effective learning and teaching, led by dedicated and experienced professionals, must therefore be a priority for any education system.

Finally in this section, a view from closer to home. The spring 2009 edition of “Unison in Scottish Education – newsletter for Scottish Education Support Staff”[10] stated “School Librarians – a crucial role in Literacy”. This piece highlights the four basic tenets of Curriculum for Excellence – successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors – and advocates how important school librarians will be in achieving all these aims.

Thus it can be ascertained from a variety of sources, that not only are school librarians vital to the effective implementation of the Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence, and the associated push for higher literacy levels, but that in many ways these positions should have more training and integration associated with them than is currently the case.

  1. 6. What would be lost?

It is very difficult to imagine how many of the functions and roles of school librarians, as detailed above, could be fulfilled in anything like an acceptable and viable way by the proposals detailed in the council’s Budget Consultation document. The problems of expecting two chartered librarians to cover nine schools have already been highlighted. Would it really be acceptable to expect unqualified library assistants, probably with a minimum requirement of five standard grades, and at a wage of approximately £9.00 per hour gross, to undertake some of the ongoing duties of the individual school librarians? Library assistants will be competent at issuing and discharging books, shelving and tidying. Some may have a certain amount of knowledge of information searching techniques, and a rudimentary knowledge of some aspects of children’s literature. In many cases, however, the library assistant would have to defer to the chartered librarian for advice. Academic support for both pupils and teachers would hinge on the availability of the librarian as opposed to being provided when it is requested and needed, undoubtedly resulting in some pupils and teachers missing out on vital guidance.  As a colleague recently commented

“Without a Librarian, the ‘library’ becomes merely a room with books – stock disappears, the budget is either reallocated or poorly spent – more importantly it lacks the direction, motivation and inspirational quality of a library properly managed.”[11]

It is hoped that School library assistants would have drive, enthusiasm and commitment. However without training, experience and the professional status of qualified and/or chartered librarians, whose professional standards and development are directed by organizations such as CILIP[12] (The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) and SLA[13] (The School Library Association), well-stocked, efficiently run, inspirational, useful school libraries would soon begin to disappear in East Ayrshire.

  1. 7. Alternative Proposals

The fact that East Ayrshire Council faces a budget shortfall, and therefore needs to make urgent savings, is not in dispute. It has been clearly shown, however, that East Ayrshire school librarians offer a valuable, cost effective service, and to lose their knowledge and expertise would be seriously counter-productive to secondary education in general and the aims of Curriculum for Excellence in particular – just to save £60,000, or 0.68% or the proposed savings.  The constant challenges of 21st century technology should mean that more, rather than fewer resources should be directed towards educating children in the correct and safe usage of information.

The following proposals would allow some levels of professional school librarianship to exist within all schools, and would still enable considerable savings.

  • Keep school librarians in each secondary school, but convert them to term time employees. Early calculations have indicated that this would save the Council at least £30,000 p.a. instead of the original £60,000, but would have the benefit of keeping all post holders in situ, with a resultant reduction in redeployment and / or redundancy costs. School librarians would retain their professional status, and would re-prioritize tasks originally undertaken during school holiday periods. The approximate £30,000 shortfall could come (as 3%) from the Council’s £1.008m “flexibility” amount. School librarians in East Ayrshire would then enjoy some vitally needed stability and security, and this would allow them to plan ahead and implement improvements to the services offered. Most East Ayrshire school librarians seem to think that this would be an acceptable alternative to plan 36b.
  • Appoint three librarians and six library assistants. Although this would not solve many of the potential problems highlighted in Section 4, it would at least give the three main post holders a more equal division of responsibilities, and would help with geographical distribution. One librarian could cover Doon, Cumnock and Auchinleck Academies, allowing the other two to cover the six schools in and around the Kilmarnock area. If this proposal were adopted, it would be hoped that these three posts would be open to all eight current school librarians, not just those who are chartered.
  • Appoint four or five librarians to cover the nine schools. This would broadly follow the model set by the City of Glasgow where the council has proposed plans to have one qualified librarian for every two schools. Each school would then have the chance to utilise the services of a librarian “every other week”. The potential downsides to this model are that each school is unique and has differing requirements – so librarians covering two schools would be constantly changing from one set of SMT demands to another. Presumably this would also mean that each school library would be closed for 50% of the time.
  1. 8. Conclusion

If East Ayrshire’s 2011/12 Budget Consultation proposal 36b is implemented, the loss of a qualified full time school librarian in each school would have dramatic effects,  not only on its delivery of high level academic support, the provision of safe study support environments, the ability to inspire reading for pleasure and therefore raise literacy standards, but also on the capability to implement Curriculum for Excellence successfully and efficiently.  The alternative proposals highlighted in section 7 – especially that which suggests keeping term-time only qualified school librarians – offer acceptable compromises, all of which would show budget savings, but would offer better levels of service to pupils than proposal 36b.

An unqualified library assistant in seven of the nine secondary schools would not be able to offer the plethora of different skills, help, advice, drive, inspiration and enthusiasm that are currently provided by the qualified librarians who are in post. The loss of East Ayrshire’s Library Education Resource Service in 2010 has removed a vital back up facility which might have aided such a fundamental change. The two “chartered librarians” proposed by proposal 36b – assuming that they would be supporting three or four library assistants as well as trying to offer some sort of service to their own school – would be pulled in so many different ways as to make their workload extremely difficult, if not impossible.

It is accepted that some school librarians could, and perhaps should be doing more to integrate themselves into the mainstream of Curriculum for Excellence, and to make their libraries “The Heart of the School”. To remove all qualified school librarians from post, however, and replace them with unqualified library assistants would be a hugely detrimental step to the health and wellbeing of every secondary school in East Ayrshire.  As Madelyn Travis says,

“Children of all ages need school libraries, and librarians, who will help them to discover the books they will treasure for years to come. Books allow children to experience the magic of words well used and to acquire the power that comes with being able to use them effectively. Enable a child to love reading and everything else will follow”.[14]

Expecting a school library to run effectively and efficiently, to inspire, teach, and educate without a dedicated, qualified librarian in place, is like expecting a greenhouse to nurture its own seedlings into fruit without the care and attention of a gardener. For the future of every child in East Ayrshire, proposal 36b should not be adopted.


Appendix 1: Standard Circular 84, May 2002 Standard Circular No. 84



In secondary schools the professional librarian will have many skills which complement those of the teaching staff. A school librarian will wish to, and should be encouraged, to take a full and active role in the life of the school and in the education of the pupils.

The following guidelines have been produced to encourage school managers to make full use of the skills of the librarian while allowing the librarian to exercise his/her professional expertise to the best advantage of the school.

These guidelines embody current best practice and should be used in conjunction with the job description for the school librarian to assist in producing a school policy statement on the use of the library.

General Points • • • • • • • • • •

The line manager for the librarian should be a member of the Senior Management Team.

The line manager should ensure that systems are in place to allow the librarian to receive all staff communications and all relevant information pertaining to internal and external educational developments and initiatives.

The librarian should have full access to all guidance and support on issues of personnel, education, curriculum and in particular all things related to the operation of the library.

The librarian should be involved and consulted on all procedures related to Development Planning and Improvement Initiatives as a member of school staffing.

All whole school initiatives on learning and teaching should carefully consider the involvement and use of the library and the librarian as an important school resource.

In keeping with wider aspects of educational computing, the librarian should be involved in any projects that encourage and enhance the place of computing skills within the life of the whole school.

Systems should be developed to enable library provision and use of the library to be regularly monitored, evaluated and reviewed.

Librarians do not form part of the absence cover arrangements for teaching staff and should not be used to cover classes of absent colleagues.

The librarian should be made aware of any emotional, behavioural, medical or learning difficulty of any pupil expected to use the library.

A structure should be in place for the librarian to report absence, seek training, confirm days of annual leave etc with the line manager or other delegated members of the school staff.

Circ84 Issued/DL 2

Class Contact • • • •

Full classes using the library should be timetabled in advance following consultation with the librarian.

The class teacher should accompany their class and maintain responsibility for the class at all times.

Sufficient advance notification should be given in the timetabling to allow the librarian to make all necessary preparation for the class coming to the library.

Smaller groups, up to half class size, may make use of the library unaccompanied, where they are undertaking curricular activities, their attendance has been pre-arranged and agreed with the librarian, and the class teacher remains responsible for any situation which may arise.

Non – Class Contact • • • • •

Unless otherwise agreed with the librarian, pupils should not be in the library prior to the start of the school day or after the close of school without alternative supervision having been arranged.

During a school interval, the library would normally be closed to allow the librarian a short break and the opportunity to have contact with teaching and support staff.

The minimum legal break for lunch for librarians is 30 minutes, thereafter the librarian may elect to open the library for school use.

Ideally a librarian’s lunch break should coincide with the school lunch break. Where local circumstances detail otherwise the librarian should negotiate alternative arrangements with his/her line manager. If such negotiations cannot be resolved then the matter should be referred to the Head Teacher.

Where the library is open for all, or part of, the lunch break systems to support the librarian should be discussed and agreed with him/her and then implemented. This should include amongst others maximum numbers to be allowed in, controlled entry and the maintenance of good order.

Other Pupil Contact • • • •

Ideally, the librarian should be given as much advance notice as possible about any proposed visit to the library by individuals or by small groups of pupils.

Where this is not possible teachers should contact the librarian by phone or messenger to clear that a visit would be possible.

Where an individual or a group of pupils are using the library, unaccompanied, the class teacher must still retain responsibility for them.

While pupils should be welcomed and encouraged to use the library they should also have a clear understanding of why they are there. This is the joint responsibility of the class teacher and the librarian.

The library must not be used as a time-out facility for pupils with discipline problems.

Certain pupils, for example those with medical problems or those exempt from religious observance may be accommodated in the library at specified times.

Circ84 Issued/DL 3

This would require prior consultation with the librarian to ensure the availability of space, the presence of the librarian and the pupil having appropriate work to complete.

• • Senior pupils should be encouraged to use the library as a curricular resource and a place for individual study. The library should not be used as a common room.

Where senior pupils wish to access the library as a class or in small groups then arrangements should be agreed in advance between the class teacher and the librarian.

Discipline • • • •

As with all school staff, the librarian is expected to be professional and conscientious in the execution of his/her duties.

The librarian should be accorded the same respect by pupils as that shown to the teaching staff.

Where a disciplinary situation occurs requiring a sanction beyond that of a “verbal rebuke” by the librarian, the pupil should be referred to the appropriate class teacher having responsibility for the child.

If the incident is not within the jurisdiction of a responsible class teacher, for example at lunchtime, in the corridor etc, then it should be referred to the appropriate member of the Senior Management Team. (Such a referral should receive the same attention as one coming from a member of the teaching staff).

Finance • •

The library budget line must be spent on resources for the library and not channelled elsewhere.

The librarian, in consultation with Heads of Departments and his/her line manager should decide which resources should be purchased for the library.

John Mulgrew

Director of Educational and Social Services

May 2002

Circ84 Issued/DL

[1] “Literacy & Education in a 21st Century Economy”. Speech to American Library Association, 21 June 2005.  See (accessed 30 December 2010)

[2] Medawar, Charles: “The Social Audit Consumer Handbook”, Macmillan, 1978, p41.

[3] Quoted on “Heart of the School” website (accessed 4 Jan 2011)

[4] (accessed 1 December 2010)

[5] Ibid, section 6.1

[6] (accessed 6 Dec 2010)

[7] ( (accessed 04 Jan 2011)

[8] Barrett, Lynn: “Effective School Libraries – Evidence of Impact on Student Achievement”. The School Librarian, volume 58, number 3. (accessed 29 Dec 2010)

[9] (accessed 2 Jan 2011)

[10] (accessed 04 Jan 2011)

[11] Personal discussion with author, Nov 2010.



[14] (Accessed 5 Jan 2011)

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