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Literacy Lab

Literacy Lab

Collaborative research practices, to understand and improve children and young people's literacy experiences and outcomes

Resources for librarians

Both in schools and communities, libraries and librarians are champions for reading and are an essential source of support to children, young people and adults.

On this page we have collated research resources which highlight the importance of libraries and librarians, providing insight into the vital provision and practices delivered by school and public libraries.


Research reports

Below are some useful research reports which highlight the value of school and public libraries and librarians, written by literacy advocacy organisations, or professional bodies.

Why are libraries important? by Scottish Book Trust

Research on the impact of school libraries, by Scottish Book Trust

Beyond books: School libraries as sources of safety, inclusivity, and wellbeing, by Scottish Book Trust

What are libraries worth? by CILIP

Libraries for Primaries: Unlocking the power of reading, by National Literacy Trust


Academic research

Below are links to free, open-access academic articles which highlight the important role that libraries and librarians play in supporting wellbeing and development within schools.


Libraries as Wellbeing Supportive Spaces in Contemporary Schools

Merga, M. K. (2021). Libraries as wellbeing supportive spaces in contemporary schools. Journal of Library Administration61(6), 659-675.

In this study, library managers and Year 4 – Year 9 students (Australia) were interviewed about the role the library played in their school. The researchers found that libraries foster belonging and sanctuary, exposure to books and opportunities for reading, and provide a space for relaxing and recharging. 


Beyond books: High school librarians as champions of pupil inclusivity, autonomy, and reader development

In this study, secondary school library practitioners in Scotland were interviewed about the role they play in supporting pupils beyond attainment. The researchers found that librarians help pupils cultivate a love of reading, align reading with their lives, and expand their worldview through books. Librarians also champion pupils’ wellbeing needs, provide specific support for marginalised and vulnerable pupils, create a safe space, and support pupil autonomy.

This paper is currently under review. If you would like to receive a copy of this paper, please contact: Charlotte Webber,


School Librarians as Literacy Educators Within a Complex Role

Merga, M. K. (2020). School librarians as literacy educators within a complex role. Journal of Library Administration60(8), 889-908.

This paper explores the complex role of school librarians and recommends greater recognition of how their role differs from that of a classroom teacher.


School libraries: Why children and young people use them or not, their literacy engagement and mental wellbeing

Clark C, and Teravainen-Goff A (2018) School Libraries: Why Children and Young People Use Them or Not, Their Literacy Engagement and Mental Wellbeing. Findings from Our Annual Literacy Survey 2017/2018. National Literacy Trust Research Report. National Literacy Trust.

This is a report from the National Literacy Trust which includes data from 45,523 children and young people on how many children use the school library, why they do or do not use it, and how school library use links with literacy engagement, reading skill, and mental wellbeing.



Previous workshops and seminars

We run sessions for school and public librarians to share research insights and build connections between research and practice. Below you can find slides from our previous workshops and seminars.


Celebrating the relationship between reading and wellbeing: Promoting discussions between researchers and librarians


In this in-person workshop at the University of Edinburgh, secondary school and public librarians heard about our current research into reading and wellbeing and the value of secondary school libraries. We also had discussions about what librarians priorities are for academic research and how we can continue to work together in the future.


(1) How does reading support wellbeing? Insights from the Reading and Wellbeing project

(2) Scottish Book Trust research on the value of secondary school libraries


Useful organisations

CILIPS (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland)

SLIC (Scottish Library & Information Council)

SLA (School Libraries Association)

Great School Libraries


Get involved

We know that putting librarians at the heart of work about their practice is essential. We’d love to work with more school and public librarians to design, carry out, and implement research. If you’re interested in working with us, or have a research interest or idea, please get in touch.

For more information about the projects we currently have running, please check the ‘Current projects’ tab or read a summary of our work here.

Literacy Lab Director: Dr Sarah McGeown,


See something missing from this page?

If you’re a librarian and have come across a resource you’d like to share with others, email us so we can add it to this page for others to use!



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