Why appropriate staffing is essential

The quality of library services and resources is directly dependent on library staff. To meet the teaching and learning needs of a school community it is essential to have staff who are:

  • Well trained and enthusiastic.
  • Knowledgeable of services, policies, resources and school needs.

Appropriate staffing, in terms of skills and time, will enable the following to occur:

  • Library organisation and administration.
  • Working with students and teachers.
  • Issuing, returning and reshelving resources.
  • Selecting, purchasing and processing new resources.
  • Managing existing collections, both physical and digital.
  • Organising displays and promotions.
  • Promote information literacy by helping students develop skills to find, evaluate, reference and share information and knowledge.

The primary responsibility for the duty of care of students remains with the teacher-librarian, teacher-in-charge or principal.

Optimum staffing for a school library includes a teacher-librarian. They operate as both an educator and information manager. This role combines a knowledge of the curriculum, teaching strategies and learning styles. Teacher-librarians have expertise in resource management and information services.

In 2020 the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) updated their Recommended minimum information services staffing levels: Table 6 Revised, which is a guide for library staffing in schools. This updated table replaces the original in ‘Learning for the future: developing information services in schools’ 2nd ed 1993.

If a school library is only staffed on a part-time basis, strategies need to be put in place to ensure staff and student access to resources and services is not compromised.

School libraries in Tasmania are staffed at the discretion of the school principals. Staffing may be provided from the following roles:

Teacher Librarian

A teacher-librarian has dual qualifications and expertise in both teaching and librarianship.

ASLA provide a description of the teacher-librarian role.

ALIA provides a list of accredited teacher-libarian courses. ALIA and the ALIA-School Library Advisory Commitee provide Guidelines for the time allotment of teaching and librarianship for teacher librarians.

Library Technician

Library technicians operate and maintain library systems. They provide reference and information services.

The ‘library technician’ title can be gained by:

  • Completion of an ALIA accredited diploma. ALIA provide a list of accredited courses.
  • Department for Education, Children and Young People libraries classification.

There are two library technician classification levels in the Department for Education, Children and Young People libraries:

  • Band 4 – working independently (the equivalent of a library manager).
  • Band 3 – working under direction.

Principals decide which band to adopt.

Library Aide or Assistant

Library aides are teacher aides with a library focus. They undertake routine library procedures and processes.

TasTAFE offers a Certificate III in Education Support. This is a general course for teacher assistants.

Additional support

Teaching staff

All teaching staff should:

  • Teach information literacy skills.
  • Encourage a love and appreciation of reading.
  • Assist in the selection of school resources to support the curriculum.
  • Promote information literacy by helping students develop skills to find, evaluate, reference and share information and knowledge.

These responsibilities are important if there is no teacher-librarian in the school.

School ancilliary staff

Ancilliary staff can provide valuable assistance with routine tasks under the direction of library staff.


Volunteers can provide assistance with routine tasks under the direction of library staff. They do not replace library staff in the provision of library services and programs, but may work in a support role.


Student monitors can undertake routine tasks while supervised by library staff.

TALIS Network schools should never allow students to operate library software. This will ensure privacy for other students and staff, and preserve the data integrity of library records.

Library Committee

A library committee can be a useful way of involving other members of the school community in library planning. It can ensure the library meets the needs of the school.

The committee should always involve school library staff. Committee members can promote library services, provide input and assist the development of library policies, which may include:

  • Strategic management plans.
  • Budget expenditure.
  • Evaluating library services and programs.
  • Collection development.


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Page updated 12/05/2022

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