Supporting Wellbeing in the School Library

How do we support wellbeing in our school libraries? When I started to put together a webinar and article on the topic I discovered there were far too many aspects of supporting wellbeing, too many resources and tips to be able to fit into a short webinar or article, so here is a collection of links, webinars, podcasts and more on the topic. Have something you want to add? I’d love to hear from you, so please get in touch.


Dr Margaret Merga offers many wonderful insights into the importance of school libraries. Her article How Can School Libraries Support Student Wellbeing? Evidence and Implications for Further Research explores how the school library is a safe space, offers resources to support mental health and wellbeing, and how reading for pleasure can have great effect on wellbeing.

Merga also explores wellbeing in her book School Libraries Supporting Literacy and Wellbeing.

Five ways school libraries support wellbeing. A place to get away from it all: 5 ways school libraries support student well-being.

Lori Korodaj explores academic and emotional wellbeing in the school library by looking at the safe space of the library and the library programs. The Library as ‘third space’ in your school. 

Exploring self-help resources, mindfulness, social hubs, and safe spaces, this article discusses how school libraries support wellbeing. The School Library: A Powerful Weapon in the Battle for Wellbeing.

Part 1 in the two part series from Story Box Library on how libraries support wellbeing and mental health. Part two can be found here.

Collection Development and Management

My go-to for diversity auditing is Kelsey Bogan. She shares her full, step-by-step procedure in a five-part series. Start with Diversity Audit: A Practical Guide. 

No time to do a full diversity audit? Kelsey has us covered once again with her post Want to Diversity Audit, But No Time?

What makes a collection inclusive? Tips and guides, with particular focus on Maori and Pasifika resources from the National library of New Zealand.

Creating Inclusive School Library Collections is an initiative by North American librarians to help support the inclusion of positive Indigenous Literatures in school libraries.

Diversity in a Culturally Responsive School Library Collection explores the themes and main points of Chapter 2 from the book Core Values in School Librarianship.

How an old book created a commitment to better represent Frist Nations Australians. How a teacher librarian and Aboriginal Journalist worked together to improve the representation of Indigenous voice, history and perspectives in a school library collection.

A US perspective of Supporting Students With Inclusive School Library Collections.

Create a Diverse Collection: With Djeneba Muhammad is an episode of the Librarian Influencers Podcast that explores how to build a collection that reflects all your students.

This article reflects on the work “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” and asks Why Stop at Windows and Mirrors?: Children’s Book Prisms.  And here is Brandi Veal talking about Prisms in our collection on the Librarian Influencers Podcast.

Beyond the Collection

Peter Langella speaks honestly in this article about how his library space was not inclusive, reflective of the school environment and the steps the school took to change that. Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries: More Than Books on the Shelves.

Library Programs and Makerspace

In the article School Libraries Enhancing Student Wellbeing, Jackie Child explores how the library, particularly the library programs and makerspace, can support student wellbeing.

Another article by Jackie in which she explores how makerspace activities builds student wellbeing.  Makerspaces and Student Wellbeing

Cathy Collins shares her experiences in the article Health and Wellness Through the School Library  about creating meditation and self-confidence workshops in the school library, including open mikes and poetry readings.

Lucy Atherton shares their school library’s experience of supporting student mental health through the use of dogs, books and beanbags. You’ll find the article Supporting Students’ Mental Wellbeing Through the School Library in Vol 68 of The School Librarian (I got access via my State Library) or find out more on the Wellington College Library blog.

Have you heard of Story Dogs? Learn more about the program and the impact it has for students.

Ever wanted to start a Dungeons and Dragons club in your school library? Lucas Maxwell explains why you should and how to get started.

Here is my three-part series on running book clubs, from getting started to activities and promoting your group.

Reading Well is a UK program that promoting reading for wellbeing.


Mindfulness Resources for Kids – Megan Daley at Children’s Books Daily shares tips around mindfulness, and a list of titles about mindfulness.

Tips for mindful reading, writing and listening. Three Simple Mindfulness Practices You Can Use Every Day by Mirabai Bush.

Mindful Reading: At the Intersection of Mindfulness and Reading by Didi Cooper.

Learn how Megan Daley and Jackie Child brought mindfulness into their school library in Jackie’s article Wellbeing and Mindfulness in a School Library.

The Mindful Librarian episode from the Future Ready Podcast Leading from the Library.

Inclusive Libraries and Safe Spaces

Inclusive Libraries School Librarians United. Amy Hermon interviews Julie Stivers as they discuss the steps school librarians can take to build inclusive spaces, collections and programs.

In Libraries as Wellbeing Supportive Spaces in Contemporary Schools Dr Margaret Merga shares her research with middle grade students on why they found the library to be a safe space.

Creating a Safe Space for LGBTQ Students – another fantastic School Librarians United podcast episode with Kelly Boston

Dr Hilary Hughes explains what students want from their school library space and why their school library matters to them in the article Why The School library is a Vital Space for Student Learning and Wellbeing.

Library Insights: The School Library as Sanctuary: Mental Health, Wellbeing and the School Library.

Include is one of the six titles in the AASL Shared Foundations Series. Julie Stivers brings together the voices of a diverse range of school librarians to reflect on how to foster inclusive spaces in your school library.

Neurodiversity in Our Libraries is episode #125 from the School Librarians United podcast. Adriana L. White explores neurodiversity and how library spaces, collections and teaching can embrace and include all students, especially those who are neurodiverse.

Amanda Lee explores UDL and accessibility and how these are key for how she shapes her school library space, program and collection. UDL, Accessibility and Advocacy for Students 

Is your school library really inclusive? Kelsey Bogan explores how to make sure everything in your library, from the collection to signage to book lists, are inclusive. Developing a Library That’s REALLY For Everyone. Another great article she shares is “Belonging” In The Library.  And what about how which holidays you choose to celebrate in your library may make your library inclusive or exclusive. Holiday Decorating in the Library?

Everyone Belongs in the School Library: with Carrie Friday. This episode of the Librarian Influencers podcast explores how to place your school library as the heart and hub of the school.

Reading Trauma and Literacy Shaming

Dr T Loves Books, Steve Tetreault, shares a range of resources about Let’s End Literacy Shaming! including three webinars, a podcast, slides and two articles.

And here is the podcast episode on School Librarians United with Steve Tetreault about Let’s End Literacy Shaming

In this article, Amielle Major interviews school librarian Julia Torres about how librarians can change traumatic reading practices. Includes areas to avoid and tips to support students. When Kids Say “I’m not a reader”: How librarians can disrupt traumatic reading practices.

Reading for Pleasure

The report The Impact of Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment, conducted by BOP Consulting and funded by the Peter Sowerby Foundation, brings together a strong and growing body of research that shows how and why reading for pleasure can bring a range of other benefits to individuals and society.

Bibliotherapy and Trauma

Judith Wakeman explores how dedicated reading programs can enhance student mental health and wellbeing. Development Bibliotherapy – Using books to guide young people through adolescence.

Trauma and Reading by Dr Steven Dykstra. An interesting opinion piece about reading being the only thing that can truly help children overcome trauma and violence.

Social and Emotional Literacy

Martha Bongiorno talks with Amy Hermon on School Librarians United about how her collection and library program support social-emotional learning. Social-Emotional Learning: The New Literacy

Response to Adversity

During the initial COVID lockdowns, the Students Need School Libraries campaign gathered case studies on how school libraries responded to support their communities. These are just three of many that highlight the importance of supporting student wellbeing during this time. Snapshot #3, Snapshot #8, Snapshot #22

Wellbeing for Library Staff

Burnout and Self-Care is episode #29 in the School Librarians United podcast series and explores how to support yourself as you support your students and community.

Here are some books on workplace culture, teams, and time management that I have found to really help me build a positive environment in my school library team. Click on the covers for full reviews.

Check out Cultures of Belonging, a title about making sure our workplaces reflect the diversity and inclusion we strive to achieve in the school library.

I always find professional learning to really help me with my approach to my work and keep my spirits uplifted. I share a monthly professional learning list, which you can also subscribe to receive as an email, or you can find a 7 part series here on professional learning. 

I have recently discovered Radical Candor and find that is a really positive approach to dealing with conflict in the workplace and building rapport with my colleagues.


Have a resource that should be added to the above list? Please let me know and I will add it.