How effective is your school library?

We believe a good library is an invaluable resource for the whole school community and as educators we understand the power of reading when it comes to student outcomes in all areas of school life.

So what constitutes a “good” school library and how do you go about ensuring your library is as effective as it can be for the budget and resources available?

To help schools evaluate and take stock of how their library is currently performing and work out where realistic improvements can be made, we’ve created the School Library Evaluation tool supported by the School Library Association.

Start Evaluation

How does it work?

Created to support all schools, whether there’s a dedicated librarian and library space or much more limited resources, the evaluation covers 6 broad areas with multiple-choice questions to give you an overall evaluation result.

It should take around 15 minutes to complete and we will send you a detailed results report with helpful information and further guidance to support you with your next steps.

Considering your results

Once you have completed the evaluation you will be given an instant overall evaluation result which will place your school library in one of three categories, beginningemerging or optimised. The overall score and categorisation are provided to enable you to evidence progress and measure improvement as we recommend you complete the evaluation every 6-12 months.

It’s really important to bear in mind that while the overall score and categorisation are essential for evidencing progress, the main purpose of the tool is to provide you with a straightforward way to evaluate your library in 6 key areas, taking stock of how effective it is and highlighting areas for improvement.

We therefore strongly recommend you request your detailed results report after completing the tool for a full breakdown of your overall score and help and support with your next steps for all areas of your library.


  • Area
  • Flexibility
  • Environment
  • Library Management System



  • Sourcing
  • Access
  • Relevance
  • Format


Learning and Assessment

  • Planning
  • Assessment
  • Feedback
  • External Partnerships
  • Pupil Involvement


Reading and Curriculum Support

  • Literacy
  • Reading Development
  • Teaching and Learning Support
  • Engagement


Information Literacy

  • Focus
  • Development
  • Design
  • Delivery


Management and Service

  • Staff
  • Funding
  • Representation
  • Professionalism


Supported by The School Library Association


The SLA is a UK focused charity which supports everyone involved in school libraries. They provide advice training and access to resources to support the running of school libraries and the continuing development of all library staff, as well as advocating for and allowing other educational staff to maximise their understanding and use of school libraries. We’re delighted to have their support for our School Library Evaluation tool.

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“I found the Evaluation Tool very useful. It’s really highlighted our need to be included in the English Department and with Literacy curriculum decisions. It was also interesting to see that we did somewhat poorly on Information Knowledge, and we would love to implement a better structure to help students learn how to find their own reference books. It’s been a useful tool for me especially, as I’m trying to progress in my role and it’s given me a good basis to show what I want to achieve in a way that my Line Manager and Head Teacher will understand. It was really easy to use and the headings are really informative.”

Holly Trafford, Learning Resource Assistant Co-Ordinator at Ivybridge Community College

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About the Author

Sue Polchow

Sue Polchow MCILIP, Literacy & Library Adviser, ESS Reading Cloud

Having previously been both a School Library Service Manger & Adviser and a school librarian, Sue has always been committed to supporting and developing school libraries to realise their potential as learning and literacy hubs. She is a chartered librarian, active nationally on the CILIP Youth Libraries Group, a member of the CILIP School Libraries Group and School Library Association and prior to joining ESS was both a Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals and Costa Children’s Book Award judge.


Are you ready to evaluate your library?

There’s no such thing as the perfect library and yet we know many schools are working hard to make their libraries the best they can be!

Complete our evaluation today and find out if there are any areas you can improve to make your library even better for your students and staff.

Start Evaluation