A school library (or a school library media center) is a library within a school where students, staff, and often, parents have access to a variety of resources. The goal of the school library media center is to ensure that all members of the school community have equitable access "to books and reading, to information, and to information technology."
A school library media center "uses all types of media... is automated, and utilizes the Internet [as well as books] for information gathering."
School libraries are distinct from public libraries because they serve as "learner-oriented laboratories which support, extend, and individualize the school's curriculum... A school library serves as the center and coordinating agency for all material used in the school."
School library media centers in the 21st century can, and should be, hubs forincreased student achievement and positive focused school reform.
The school library exists to provide a range of learning opportunities for both large and small groups as well as individuals with a focus on intellectual content, information literacy, and the learner.
In addition to classroom visits with collaborating teachers, the school library also serves as a learning space for students to do independent work, use computers, equipment and research materials; to host special events such as author visits and book clubs; and for tutoring and testing.
School libraries function as a central location for all of the information available, and a school librarian functions as the literary map to the resources and materials found within the library.
A school library functions as an opportunity for educators to work with librarians in support of a resource center for the students to be able to safely access the internet for both school work and interacting with each other.
The school library media center program is a collaborative venture in which school library media specialists, teachers, and administrators work together to provide opportunities for the social, cultural, and educational growth of students.
Activities that are part of the school library media program can take place in the school library media center, the laboratory classroom, through the school, and via the school library's online resources.