The aim of this research was to identify and critically evaluate the available evidence of the impact of school libraries on learning, including attainment, skills and attitudes.

The research, commissioned by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), is based on a critical review of UK and international evidence published since 2001 linking school libraries to educational achievement, attainment and learning in secondary education.

The findings reveal international evidence that school libraries make a positive impact on:

  • Higher test or exam scores equating to academic attainment: this includes reading, language arts, history and maths
  • Successful curriculum and learning outcomes, including information literacy
  • Positive attitudes towards learning: including increased motivation, self-esteem, and wider reading for pleasure.

Key factors in the impact of the library include levels of professional staffing; flexible access to library resources, including the use of ICT; and collaboration between librarian and teachers.

The outcomes were presented at The Scottish Learning Festival, Glasgow September 2013.   Full details of this project, including a flyer showing a summary of findings and the RGU final report, are available on the SLIC website

Read the full report published by the Scottish Library and Information Council, 2013 (PDF File)

View the Impact of School Libraries on Learning Infographic (PDF 60Kb)

The research is designed as an update of the previous review of the impact of school library services undertaken in 2001 by the same team (Williams, Wavell & Coles, 2001).  This updated review examines the evidence published since that earlier 2001 review, and contextualises the findings in relation to the potential impact on Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) in Scotland.SLIC logo

Project team

Prof. Dorothy Williams

Caroline Wavell

Katie Cooper