Library services for teaching and learning

The role of qualified school library staff is to:

  • Provide high quality library services.
  • Support teachers in the delivery of curriculum programs.

The library’s staffing levels will influence the ability of staff to develop their role. However, all library staff can make a positive contribution in the following areas.

Media literacy

The Australian Media Literacy Alliance (AMLA) define media literacy as “the ability to critically engage with media in all aspects of life. It is a critical form of lifelong learning that is essential for full participation in society.” This is an increasing issue for schools in an era of fake news and misinformation.

Further information


School libraries are increasingly involved in makerspace and STEM activities. Chris Harte suggests that ‘makerspaces provide students with the opportunity to learn a range of skills and meet a number of curriculum objectives.’ Learning activities don’t have to be high tech, they can simply involve Lego.

Further reading

Reading engagement

Library staff play an integral role in the school’s reading culture and the development of engaged and skilled readers who enjoy reading for pleasure.

Library staff can support reading engagement by:

  • Celebrating annual reading focused events.
  • Creating displays that encourage reading.
  • Interacting with individual students in ways that build their reading confidence and encourages them to read for pleasure.
  • Working with teachers to develop reading programs and activities.
  • Providing in-library group reading opportunities for classes.
  • Organising fiction and non-fiction collections so it is easy for students to browse.
  • Allowing students to select their own reading material.
  • Reviewing library guidelines and policies to increase their reader-friendly focus.
  • Developing diverse collections that will appeal to a wide range of students.
  • Promoting a wide range of inclusive reading material in multiple formats.
  • Modelling positive reading behaviour
  • Organise reading events, for example guest readers.

Reading focused events

Further reading

Digital literacy

According to the Learning Potential website, digital literacy is the “knowledge and ability to use technology critically and creatively to find information, solve problems or complete tasks. It is also about knowing how to act safely and respectfully online.”

Students may regularly use digital devices and products, but they may not have good digital literacy skills. Library staff can support digital literacy by:

  • Gaining an understanding of digital literacy and modelling appropriate digital skills and behaviours.
  • Ensuring that students can manage devices and locate resources.
  • Working with teachers to support their digital literacy skill activities and programs.
  • Promoting and supporting the school’s eSafety and online citizenship strategies.
  • Helping students learn basic digital literacy skills.
  • Exploring digital resource options for inclusion in the library.
  • Knowing where to access information about copyright and Creative Commons.
  • Providing effective signage and guidance.

Digital literacy resources

Information literacy

Information literacy is defined by the UK’s Library and Information Association as ‘knowing when and why you need information, where to find it and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.’

Students may be familiar with Google, but many don’t have the information literacy skills they need to become successful lifelong learners. Library staff can support information literacy by:

  • Developing physical and digital library collections to support the curriculum and the information needs of staff and students.
  • Teaching students how to search the collections and use the information to support their studies.
  • Teaching students how to search the internet effectively and to evaluate what they find.
  • Supporting teachers to integrate information literacy skills into their programs and activities.
  • Modelling appropriate information literacy skills.

Further reading

Academic integrity

Library staff in colleges and high schools often teach referencing and citation skills, plus how to avoid plagiarism and meet academic integrity standards.

Plagiarism is defined by the University of Tasmania as:

‘taking and using someone else’s thoughts, writings or inventions and representing them as your own; for example, using an author’s words without putting them in quotation marks and citing the source, using an author’s ideas without proper acknowledgment and citation, copying another student’s work. As students you are expected to maintain academic integrity by correctly referencing scholars work and not copying others’ work.’

Tasmanian information on academic integrity is produced by the Office of Tasmanian Assessment, Standards & Certification (TASC).

Further reading

Plagiarism detection tools

Possible options include:

Referencing tools

Possible options include:

  • Online Referencing Generator – for Harvard (Australia style) and APA7 – School Library Association of South Australia (subscription required)
  • Citefast – for APA7, MLA8, Chicago
  • MyBib – for Harvard Australia style, APA7, MLA8, Chicago

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Page updated 14/06/2023

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