School library

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

School libraries are libraries in schools. They are also known as the school library or school media library.

Historic high school library of the school Laurentianum Arnsberg in the former monastery library of pin Wedinghausen

Forms of the school library

In general, in educational and library literature today, the term school library is used to describe a facility that is centrally accessible to all pupils and teachers. According to this idea, the tasks of a school library extend to all members of a school and their information needs.

However, this understanding has not yet caught on everywhere. There are still four types of school library found in practice.

  • School libraries that centrally manage all media stocks and whose stocks are accessible to both students and teachers
  • Student libraries that are solely geared towards the supply of students
  • Teachers' libraries that are not (or only in exceptional cases) accessible to students and that focus their media inventory on the educational staff of a school.
  • Classroom libraries , the holdings of which are located in a classroom and are mostly looked after by the respective class. Such solutions can be found in primary schools and day-care centers in particular .

High school libraries

High school libraries are collections of historical origin, which were created as libraries of high schools or lycees, that is, of “higher schools”. In Germany, foundations are known from the 16th century. In modern times, they contain not only teaching materials in the narrower sense, but also a large amount of (historical) scientific literature, school programs and incunabula . These mainly served the academic work of the grammar school teachers and were consistently associated with council and city ​​libraries until the 18th century .

After the secularization, especially south of the Main, stocks from former church or monastery property were transferred to the city's Latin schools and later to the higher schools. In some cases scholars donated their private libraries to schools; especially in the 19th century, they were not infrequently purchased. Many of these libraries became part of state , city or university libraries and archives , for example in Stralsund , Schleusingen or Arnsberg . In some cases, these historical holdings were only given to the institution concerned as a deposit , so they are still legally owned by the school or its sponsor. Such landfill was mostly done for safety and conservation reasons, and schools often lack the human resources to properly look after the historical holdings, quite apart from the fact that they can hardly be used for teaching purposes.

Historical grammar school libraries kept in schools are now part of the school libraries with separate installation, use and administration, mostly for reasons of inventory protection .

Situation in Germany

School library in Schwerin-Lankow with 5,000 volumes and 300 records (1989)

There is no standardized school library system in Germany. The local authorities (usually cities and municipalities ) are responsible for the library system. The library system, like the entire cultural sector with the maintenance of theaters, orchestras, museums and libraries, belongs to the voluntary, i.e. H. freely definable, non-enforceable tasks of the municipalities. The task of having media available for their citizens to borrow is regulated in many municipalities through outsourcing . B. operate local parishes libraries in place of the municipality concerned .

In rural areas, it is often not cities and municipalities that are responsible for schools, but rural districts or districts , especially when students from several municipalities attend a particular school. Where school sponsorship and library responsibility are in one hand, which is the rule in independent cities and city-states , there is occasionally a noteworthy cooperation in the form of combined city and school libraries or an institutionalized collaboration between educational institutions and city libraries. The lack of legal protection for school libraries and the unclear allocation affect the equipment and objectives of the individual libraries.

The country responsible in each case plays a role insofar as school libraries in Germany are predominantly run by teachers, i.e. usually by state employees, who mostly receive hours of relief for this. A school library is seldom managed by a trained librarian (with different financing modes up to private sponsorship ). The library managers are often assisted by volunteer assistants who enable longer opening times (pupils, parents, but also other volunteers). Also ALG II receivers for which the Job Center , that is ultimately the federal government , are responsible, are often used for a "voluntary work" as assistants in school libraries.

School librarianship offices have been set up in some German cities and regions as well as in individual public libraries . Their task is to support school libraries, advise on setting up, and often provide ongoing support. Some of these jobs (the largest one is operated by the Frankfurt am Main city library , there are others in Hamburg and Leipzig, among others) have been active for decades.

Overall, school libraries in Germany have not yet established themselves as an integral part of the education system. The German Library Association rates Germany as an "emergency area" for school libraries: of the approximately 43,000 general and approximately 9,000 vocational schools, only a little more than 15 percent have a school library that meets technical standards. Well more than 15 percent of all schools have a library, but in a few cases this meets the requirements of a modern, multimedia, pedagogically-oriented library with student workstations, reading corners, computers, digital catalogs ( OPAC ) and trained staff.

Situation in German-speaking countries (except Germany)

In Austria , with the help of federal government funds , libraries were set up in grammar schools , but increasingly also in other school types. The Austrian school libraries are developing into multimedia libraries. They are supra-regionally supported by the Ministry of Education, the Austrian Book Club and reading competence centers in the federal states.

In Switzerland , the interests of school libraries are represented by the Swiss Association of General Public Libraries (SAB).

In the German-speaking region of South Tyrol, there is comprehensive support for school libraries. The school librarianship also has a high priority in the regions of the German-speaking minorities in Belgium and Denmark.

School libraries in other countries


A school librarian hands out textbooks to students (Russia, 1959)

School libraries are set up almost everywhere in France, the United Kingdom and Denmark. In France the school library is called “Center de documentation et d'information” (CDI) (Documentation and Information Center) and is run by a teacher (professeur documentaliste). There is a school library association in the UK, the School Library Association (SLA). In Portugal, the Ministry of Education has recently set up a large number of school libraries. In Sweden , the obligation to set up school libraries was carried over from the Library Act, where it was ignored, into the School Act in 2011, § 36.2.

United States

In the United States , school libraries are a traditional and permanent institution found in 92% of public and almost all private schools. Depending on the financial resources of the school district or the private sponsor, the holdings are often as extensive as those of a public library. In 86% of the public schools, the school libraries are looked after by teachers ( teacher-librarian , School Library Media Specialist ) who, in addition to having a teacher certificate, also have to demonstrate training as a librarian . At their place of work, they not only do library work, they also look after the students who work or borrow books here, and teach themselves. School library associations in the USA, however, regularly complain about excessive use of School Library Media Specialists as substitute teachers for lost hours . This would be at the expense of the school's librarianship. Already at elementary schools , weekly class visits to the library, where books are borrowed for home use, are part of the timetable, as is sports, art or music lessons. School library associations and researchers are increasingly pressing for the embedded teacher-librarian, who organizes teaching and learning processes in the classroom, in lesson planning, in the specialist conference and in the staff as a team with the specialist teacher. The budgetary situation of the US local authorities also requires cuts in the education sector. This hits school librarians particularly hard because they seem more dispensable than subject teachers.


Main article: Japanese librarianship # school libraries


  • Angelika Holderried / Birgit Lücke (eds.), Handbook School Library: Planning - Operation - Use . Schwalbach / Ts., 2012
  • Sabine Wolf / Karsten Schuldt, practical book school libraries . Schwalbach / Ts., 2011
  • US National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. School Libraries Work! . 2008, Third Edition online version
  • Konrad Umlauf: School, library, school libraries (PDF file; 638 kB) Berlin 2006
  • Niels Hoebbel (Ed.), Commission for School Libraries of the former German Library Institute. School libraries: Basics of planning, construction, administration and use . Contributions to youth literature and media <together with> school library current, 2003
  • IFLA, UNESCO School Library Manifesto , 2000 Link to the German text
  • State Institute for School Education and Educational Research Munich. The school library: use, supervision, administration, organization, handout for library officers . Donauwörth, 1996
  • Pleasure? Load? Luxury? School libraries in Hessen, ed. LAG School Libraries in Hessen eV and (former) Hessian State Institute for Education, Wiesbaden 2000

Web links

Wiktionary: School library  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Felicitas Noeske: High School Library . At: bibliotheca.gym , 23/04/2014, .
  2. ^ Klaus Graf : Incunabula in historical German school libraries. Archivalia, December 3, 2010, accessed July 10, 2014 .
  3. ^ Severin Corsten (Ed.): Lexicon of the entire book system. Volume 3: Photochemical Processes - Institute for Book Market Research. Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-7772-9136-6 , p. 316.
  4. ^ Reinhard Feldmann: Historical collections of school libraries in the Rhineland and Westphalia . In: Schulbibliothek aktuell , Volume 1993, pp. 150–156 ( online 2005 ).
  5. ^ Library portal of the German Library Association: Political and administrative organizational structure of the Federal Republic of Germany
  6. Example: the program "Kita und Schule" of the Oldenburg City Library (Oldenburg) ( [1] )
  7. Burkhard Wetekam: Where Wikipedia meets Brockhaus - Germany's schools neglect their libraries, which are essential - especially in the age of the Internet . In: Die Zeit , edition 15/2011. April 7, 2011
  8. ^ Library portal of the German Library Association: School libraries in Germany
  9. Service portal for school libraries in Austria
  10. Website of the Swiss Association of General Public Libraries
  11. School library page on the website of the German Culture Department of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano South Tyrol
  12. a b Michie, JS; Holton, BA: America's Public School Libraries. 1953-2000 (PDF file; 768 kB) US Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office , 2005, p. 3
  13. ^ Teacher Librarian: The Journal for School Library Professionals
  14. Blog post on "School Library Monthly", March 5, 2011
  15. Günter K. Schlamp: The US education crisis is worse than previously thought. In: Basedow1764's weblog. June 24, 2011, accessed on September 9, 2019 (German).