Library guidelines

Schools may create their own school library guidelines. They outline the vision, role, aims and objectives of the library, including:

  • The library as a learning environment.
  • Library connections with other areas of the school.
  • The place of the library in the overall school plan.

Guidelines should link policies and procedures about:

  • Staffing
  • Collection development
  • Budgeting
  • Ordering
  • Processing
  • Circulation
  • Stocktakes/Inventories
  • Copyright

ALIA Schools (part of the Australian Library and Information Association) and the Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians (VCTL) jointly produced A manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian School Library Resource Centres 2nd ed (pdf). This is a useful tool for developing guidelines.

In the absence of overall guidelines it is important that individual school libraries develop a basic collection development policy and procedures manual.

Collection development policy

A collection development policy covers the acquisition and deselection of resources. The policy should be approved by the principal and the school council. It is helpful to have an agreed policy in case anyone challenges an aspect of library collection development activity.

The policy should include:

  • Budget allocation
  • Collection evaluation
  • Selection criteria
  • Challenged materials
  • Donations and gifts
  • Deselection criteria and weeding
  • Disposal of weeded material
  • Stocktakes/Inventories

Procedures manual

A procedures manual outlines information required for the day-to-day operation of the library. It is useful for existing staff and essential for new staff. A procedures manual should be reviewed and updated each year.

A procedures manual should cover:


  • The roles of library staff including volunteers, monitors and senior teachers in charge.
  • Useful people within the school including School Business Manager, cleaners, maintenance, and first aid.
  • Technical support
  • Suppliers of library equipment and stationery.


  • Logins and passwords.
  • Codes and access lists.
  • Keys.
  • School policies affecting the library eg mobile phones and BYOD (bring your own device).
  • Committees with library representation.
  • Budget: amount, allocation, ordering, handling invoices and use of credit cards.
  • Copyright: where to find information.
  • Useful reports: overdue notices (including frequency and distribution), collection management reports (including collection lists and usage reports).
  • Library folders on the school network.


  • Opening hours including lunchtimes and recess.
  • Supervision responsibilities.
  • Class and individual student access.
  • Teacher support.
  • Student and teacher orientations.
  • Information literacy and collaborative teaching roles of library staff.
  • Circulation information: loan numbers, loan periods, renewing, reservations, managing overdue and lost items, billing students for lost or damaged items.
  • Traditions such as Book Week.
  • Promotion of library resources, including displays.


  • Library collections (including digital collections) and their organisation.
  • Other resource collections within the school.
  • Purchasing: responsibility, suppliers, selection criteria.
  • Donations and gifts.
  • Processing methods for each material type: stamping, labelling, covering, cataloguing.
  • Mending.
  • Weeding criteria, withdrawing procedures, disposal and dealing with complaints.
  • Stocktake/Inventory cycles and records of previous stocktakes.
  • Access to referencing tools and inforamtion (if applicable).


  • Recommendations for future plans.
  • Developments that have occurred over the last few years.


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Page updated 21/09/2021

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