Vision for school libraries

Pupils shape strategy to help improve literacy and boost attainment.

Hundreds of young people have informed the development of a new joint strategy to ensure every child in Scotland will have access to a dynamic school library.

The national strategy for school libraries is the first of its kind in the UK. The strategy includes 20 action points to support the improvement of literacy and numeracy, boost attainment across the curriculum, and enable opportunities for family learning.    

The strategy will ensure school library services:

  • Are delivered to all pupils from Early Learning and Childcare to secondary school
  • Foster strong links among schools, families and carers
  • Offer creative approaches to learning across the curriculum, including STEM related and digital activities
  • Are included in schools’ improvement plans

Pupils shared experiences of how their school librarian had built their confidence in reading and highlighted how the school library supports their wellbeing, a key theme in the strategy:

“I found people like me at the library” – S1, Inverclyde Academy

“The library is my second home” – S5, Inverclyde Academy

“Coming to the library is my favourite part of school” – P6, Aviemore Primary

“If you’re in the library, you can clear your mind by reading a book” – P6, Aviemore Primary

A specialist group will now be formed from key stakeholders to oversee the implementation of the strategy’s aims and report on progress.

Speaking ahead of the publication on International Literacy Day, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, said:

“School libraries have a vital part to play, throughout the learner journey from 3-18. They support literacy, numeracy, and health and wellbeing, improving attainment across the Curriculum.

“This strategy seeks to make libraries the vibrant hub and epicentre of our schools, promoting an appreciation of literature, an understanding of information literacy and a place of contact, friendship, dialogue and reassurance. 

“I am pleased to endorse this strategy and look forward to working with stakeholders, headteachers and library staff to implement it over the next five years.”

Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA Children and Young People spokesperson said:

“We are pleased that the National School Library Strategy recognises the many practical and innovative ways in which local authorities deliver library services to children and young people.

“The strategy will be a valuable blueprint for all of those involved in developing and delivering school library services to ensure all children and young people get the best from their education.” 


Vibrant Libraries, Thriving Schools - A National Strategy for School Libraries in Scotland 2018-2023 was developed jointly by the Scottish Government and Cosla.

Views of pupils from across all of Scotland were heard as Advisory Group members visited schools from Shetland to the Scottish Borders.

The National School Library Strategy Advisory Group was chaired by Martina McChrystal, Director of Library Services at the University of Glasgow.

Over 30 schools were visited in the development of the strategy. The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) estimates more than 450 pupils’ views were heard.

The Scottish Government, Education Scotland, local government, SLIC, headteachers and school librarians are all key partners with responsibility for the implementation of actions in this strategy.



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