Back to basics within a school library: discover and enhance student engagement and voice

ALIA Library

Strang, Sophie

Asia-Pacific Library and Information Conference 2018, 30 July - 2 August 2018 Gold Coast: Roar Leap Dare
These notes accompany the slides presented at the talk discussing the contribution of the student voice to school library decision making.
Student voice is integral to a healthy school library.  It is no good me buying books and resources that my experience determines solely.  It must be a collaborative decision via students while still supporting the curriculum. Student voice occurs in the School Library via:

  • Library Captaincies – Advocacy, speech writing, speaking at assembly, offering ideas and delivery of books
  • Book clubs program
  • Guest reader program (community members, students, teachers and outside community)
  • Library blog
  • Student recommendations
  • Multi media
  • Lunchtime library opening
  • Book Week
  • Book Fair
  • Competitions
  • Library mascot
  • Book of the Week
  • Newsletter notices
  • Displays

Increase the visibility of your Library, engage the broader school community! Add value to every student visit to the library.  Increased borrowings, foot traffic, passion for books, student engagement and quality of borrowing (they read the book!).  Our students are confident to recommend or argue against the quality of a chosen book.  Either way it is a learning opportunity for all. Help your School community realise the wonderful asset that the 1970’s gave to government schools, the funding for school libraries. Don’t let them be diluted, advocate and promote positively and with students leading the charge!  Ask what students and the greater community want and then do it! Be present, be on time, collaborate and always check that you are on the right path and are not on a self righteous zealot path.


Deakin, ACT: Australian Library and Information Association
Brighton Beach Primary School