School Library Learning Commons Guidelines and Standards

Leading LearningLeading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada (Canadian Library Association, 2014)

Link to Leading Learning Standards & Bibliography

Leading Learning provides something tangible to frame growth for all jurisdictions and for every school in Canada. It captures the collective vision of educators and members of the extended educational community from across the country. Teams from every province and territory provided input into this collaboratively-built document. That this could be achieved when there is such wide disparity in investment in programs and models for staffing and delivery is truly remarkable.

A Video Introduction to Leading Learning

The core theme of Leading Learning is facilitating learning, and the document sets a framework for growth rather than setting potentially unachievable benchmarks for facilities, collection size, circulation, etc..Those kinds of measures do not tell the full story. Good metrics are the product of good program, not the cause.

A Framework for Growth

Leading Learning takes a fresh approach. Its frameworks foster professional learning and program growth. The language here is about collaborative learning communities, achieving school goals, effective instructional design, fostering literacies and designing learning environments.

Five Standards

Secondly, Leading Learning identifies themes in each standard, and presents relevant stages of growth: Exploring, Emerging, Evolving, Established, and Leading into the Future. It provides growth indicators for each stage, broken down by specific themes. Every school can find its place in this framework, with the learning commons team assessing their own program, and picking areas for growth that most directly match the school’s goals.

Leading Learning is replete with Canadian examples at each stage of growth. It provides guidance for transformation at the provincial/territorial level and at individual schools, with a Library Learning Commons Leadership Team.



Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada. A Catalyst for Change, with Carol Koechlin. Teacher Librarian: The Journal for School Library Professionals, Volume 42, Number 5 (2015).

Collaborative Leadership in the School Library Learning Commons: New Canadian Standards and New Possibilities, with Carol Koechlin
International Association of School Librarianship Conference, 2015

From Hubris to Humility: Welcoming New Standards for School Libraries in Canada
School Libraries in Canada, Volume 32, Issue 2 (2014)

Blog Posts

T4L Meets Leading Learning (September 23, 2015)
Leading Learning Goes International (July 1, 2015)
Leading Learning Receives OLA President’s Award (February 3, 2015)
Leading Learning in the School Library Learning Commons (July 1, 2014)


Library 2.015 Worldwide Virtual Conference, October 20, 2015: A Catalyst for Igniting Change: Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada, with Carol Koechlin
ABQLA, May 7, 2015: Leading Learning to Transform School Libraries

OLA Super Conference, January 2015: Leading Learning to Transform School Libraries, with Jeanne Conte and Carol Koechlin

Together for Learning: School Libraries and the Emergence of the Learning Commons
(Ontario School Library Association, 2010, with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Education)

Link to the guideline(PDF):  Together for Learning / Ensemble pour apprendre
Link to the Together for Learning website:

Together for LearningTogether for Learning sets out a new vision of the school library as the hub of a whole school learning commons. It sets out the key components of the learning commons as the physical and virtual space, equitable access, learning partnerships, and technology in learning. Learning in the commons moves learners beyond retrieving information to constructing personal meaning, and building individual and collective knowledge – learning how to learn.

Together for Learning was conceived as a living document, and that vision is realized with the website, which includes a large bank of ideas and exemplars for implementing ideas from the guideline.

A Video Introduction to the Together for Learning Website

I am honoured to have been a member of the Together for Learning writing team, and lead developer on the Together for Learning website.

Other Canadian Guideline Documents and Resources

Alberta Education:
Learning Commons Policy

British Columbia Teacher-Librarians’ Association (BCTLA):
The Points of Inquiry: Inquiry-Based Learning for Classroom and School Libraries

Saskatchewan School Library Association (SSLA):

International Guidelines


Published by Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.

American Association of School Librarians (AASL):
Standards for the 21st Century Learner

International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA):
IFLA School Library Guidelines

International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA):
Global Action on School Library Guidelines
A book celebrating the new IFLA School Library Guidelines, and providing advice for establishing national standards and guidelines. Includes a chapter about Canada’s Leading Learning.