Most authorities have a School Library Service (SLS), a dedicated unit especially set up to support local teachers. When schools buy into an SLS, or return part of their budget to subscribe, they make a big difference to learning resources in their school. As well as support for the school’s own library, every teacher can benefit from resources and advice.
School Library Services are there to support the whole curriculum, not just English, and the more you use them the stronger they’ll grow in your subject area – give them a try!
Though they’re run by local authorities, SLSs usually offer a service to independent schools too – it’s always worth asking what’s available. Whether you’re in a primary, secondary or special school: make the call - or call in yourself, to look around.
Each SLS is different – and where one isn’t provided, you’ll probably find support is on offer through the public library network – but here are some of the things you can expect:
Loans: All services lend books and other resources – always to primary and special schools, and usually to secondary schools too. Look out for things like…
Topic Loans: Short-term loans to back up your subject teaching, including books, and sometimes audiovisual resources
Long-term loans: To help your school library provide wider reading, all year
Fiction loans: Spotlighting an author or a theme; guided, shared or multiple-copy reading sets; the best of new poetry or picture books; dual language books… and much more!
Advice: All services offer advice - on improving your school library; ICT for learning – and choosing books, whatever the subject.
Training: For school librarians, or INSET for the whole staff; Support groups
Also… Ask about book lists and guidelines (local or national); education material; exhibitions, purchasing schemes, object loans, and book promotion talks.