Documentation of policies and procedures explains why and how things are done in the library and ensure that there is consistency of application regardless of changes of personnel and other circumstances.
Library policy and procedures
- provide an important reference for library staff, administrators and teachers
- provide a ratified document that can be used to defend a decision which is challenged
- guide decisions about the necessary staffing, funding and facilities to implement the policy
- offer assistance to new staff about what is done and how it is done
A policy provides a concise formal statement of principles which underpin how the library will act in a particular area of its operation. It needs to be developed within the parameters of system and school requirements and philosophies. A policy should identify
- a definition of its focus
- its purpose
- the goals to be achieved during the life of the policy
- the broad principles which are to be followed to achieve these
- key personnel responsible for authorship and implementation
- its review cycle
A policy is a public document available to the school community and often written in consultation with them. It should be brief and broad stating what happens and why.
Procedures are specific and detailed instructions used to implement the policy. They should be in a logical and systematic sequence and where practical, supplemented with a flowchart. They are intended for those who implement the policy, are practical and often situation-specific so are much longer than the policy they support because they explain how. A change of procedure should not require a change of policy.
The key policies of a school library are
However there is a number of information policies that should be developed as part of an information literate school community and for which the teacher librarian should have a leadership role.
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In 2018 ALIA released A Manual for Developing Policies and Procedures in Australian School Library Resource Centres (2nd edition). It can also be downloaded from ASLA.