Schools Library Services (SLS) are one of many services offered to schools – all phases and all sectors – by local authorities. The way each service operates varies considerably around the country.
A Schools Library Service will:
- Lend carefully chosen resources to support teaching and learning in the classroom and to support wider reading for pleasure and enjoyment.
- Advise schools and provide training on managing and developing school libraries and teaching resources in schools, on teaching information literacy skills to enable children to become independent learners and to help schools create a reading culture.
- Organise a range of creative literature events to promote reading for pleasure
What teachers have said?
“I would like to thank the Schools Library Service tremendously for doing such a fabulous job. This service has enriched my classroom beyond belief. I am extremely grateful for the effort and care taken when responding to my requests. Thank you many times over.”
“I use the library for every topic, it is an invaluable source. I try to visit the library in person when I have release time from school but being able to order resources online is absolutely wonderful and staff are also so very helpful on the phone too.”
Who runs the Service and how is it paid for?
The service is run by experienced qualified librarians who have knowledge of the curriculum and of children’s literature.
Again, there are variations around the country. On the whole, schools subscribe to their local Schools Library Service on behalf of all their teachers. Some authorities pay for the Service from central funds, so it is free at the point of delivery to schools.
What are the benefits of a Schools Library Service
Schools Library Services offer schools incredible value for money. For the subscription they pay, they can borrow more than triple the quantity of books they could buy, and if the cost of artefacts, posters, costumes and other resources is factored in, the benefits are huge. With the slimming down of the National Curriculum and the increasing autonomy of schools in curriculum matters, schools will need access to much wider range of materials. Without a Schools Library Service, they will struggle to gather enough resources to cover all subjects they want to teach.
What is your primary school library like? – is it a, mostly locked, room full of dusty books lying higgledy-piggledy on a shelf? Or a colourful, vibrant, warm and exciting room with the newest and the best of children’s literature displayed invitingly, quality books to use for research and internet access for internet research? The difference is very often made by visiting professionals from the Schools Library Service, working with schools to create the ideal library and to train school staff in how to manage and develop it. With tightening school budgets, the number of professionally qualified school librarians in secondary schools is also dwindling and those left running school libraries are dependent on advice and support from Schools Library Services too.
The Estelle Morris School Library Commission report (2010) http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/policy/nlt_policy/school_library_commission noted:
“School library services could be a highly efficient way of ensuring that clusters of schools maximise their value for money by having access to the resources, information and expertise they need to develop children’s reading and literacy, and offering access to knowledge.”