The library needs a defined budget. This means it can plan for quality services and collections that support teaching and learning programs. Students will perform better in schools with well-resourced libraries.

Each school is different. You may need to submit a funding proposal through the school budget committee or administration.

Library Budget Plan

Library staff should develop a plan in consultation with school administration, supervising teachers etc to divide funds according to set priorities. These include:

Collection maintenance and development

  • Buy resources that support the curriculum.
  • Buy resources that support literacy and recreational reading.
  • Replace dated and shabby items (approx 10% each year).
  • Fill gaps in the collection.
  • Buy student requests.

Reports from the library management system can identify aged, lost or deleted items that may need replacing.


  • Processing: barcodes, spine labels, book covering materials.
  • Promotions: display materials, Book Week merchandise.
  • Office stationery.

Subscriptions and memberships

  • Newspapers and magazine subscriptions.
  • Professional association memberships for example ASLA and CBCA
  • eBook and audiobook subscriptions.
  • Databases and online encyclopedias.
  • Library management systems
  • Video content management systems


  • Bookends and book easels.
  • Shelving for books and tubs for picture books.


  • Chairs, lounges, beanbags and tables.


  • Barcode scanners
  • Trolleys


  • Automation
  • Introduction of RFID

Possible sources of income

  • Lost items: Depending on school policy, students may be charged for damaged or lost items. This may be done through the Library Management System (eg Symphony) or through the school office. Arrange with the School Business Manager/Executive Officer to deposit any payments for lost or damaged resources into the library budget to enable you to replace the material.
  • Fairs: Book fairs are a useful source of new books. They offer a limited range so they should enhance, not replace, a library budget and set priorities.

Managing and documenting the budget

  • Talk to the School Business Manager and plan how to order materials and manage invoices.
  • You may need a credit card or order book.
  • Keep a record of your spending and encumbered funds, for example in a spreadsheet, so you can see how much money is committed against set priorities and can keep track of received and outstanding orders.
  • Liaise regularly with the School Business Manager and tally your accounts with theirs.
  • Spend most of your budget well before the end of the year. This not ensures orders and payments are finalised by the end of the school year, but it may prevent money being taken out of your budget.
  • Outline your expenditure in the annual library report. Explain how it has improved services and collections, and supports the curriculum and student achievement.

Further reading

School Library Guidelines – home page

Give feedback about the School Library Guidelines

Page updated 21/09/2021

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