The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, recognising the important contribution that school libraries and school librarians make to the overall education offer, commissioned the development of a National Strategy for School Libraries by SLIC in Sept 2017.

Over the course of the year, a combination of desk research, site visits and a national survey was carried out to inform the development of the strategy. A School Library Strategy National Advisory Group and five thematic working groups were appointed to steer the direction of Vibrant Libraries, Thriving Schools. Each school in Scotland will receive copies of the strategy document, which will help to influence decisions regarding school library provision and showcase the impact an excellent school library service can have in Scotland's schools.


Purpose of Strategy

School library provision in Scotland varies across schools and local authorities. Early Learning and Childcare settings and primary schools have differing levels of service compared to secondary schools, with most secondaries having a dedicated school library and professionally trained librarian managing the service. This means that pupils and teachers receive varying standards of provision and this has an impact on the learning outcomes of children and young people. The strategy aims to ensure that every child and young person has access to an excellent school library service which is tailored to their learning needs.

There are many examples of excellent practice across the country, demonstrating the critical role school libraries play in education. However, there are also instances where the school library could play a stronger role and the recommendations in the strategy are designed to help achieve that. Site visits from across Scotland have shown the vital role that school libraries can have in improving attainment, supporting equity, and developing children and young people for the future. 

The strategy outlines the ways appropriately-resourced school library services contribute to achieving the Scottish Government’s ambition of excellence and equity in Scottish education. It will help education leaders and decision makers to make effective choices regarding school library provision, ensuring all pupils, staff and the wider community have access to quality resources, inclusive of staff and activities, within a well-supported library service. 


Vibrant Libraries, Thriving Schools

Vibrant Libraries, Thriving Schools - A National Strategy for School Libraries in Scotland 2018-2023 is the strategic document for the development of school libraries in Scotland. School libraries  have a vital role to play in the learning of children and young people, facilitating Curriculum for Excellence from 3 to 18. They empower pupils, school staff and the wider community in their learning, provide a service to improve school-leaver destinations, promote all forms of literacy, and support the role of lifelong learning in children and young people. 

The scope of the strategy is to highlight to decision makers the intrinsic value of a good school library service and the impact this can have on children and young people’s wider school experience. It also informs headteachers, school librarians and education practitioners on how to utilise their school library services. The strategy will advise decision makers of the central role that school library services play in the education sector and advocate for appropriately resourced services for each child in Scotland. It is vital that decision makers recognise the influence school library services and school librarians have in helping to provide children with an equal start in life and supporting young people in their lifelong learning.


Hard copies of The National Strategy for School Libraries will be sent out to every school in Scotland from week commencing 24th September 2018.

If you would like to be sent a hard copy of Vibrant Libraries, Thriving Schools, then please email your request to