Prep School Library
"Regular book clubs and other opportunities to make the most of the exceptional library facilities are well attended and much enjoyed by pupils." ISI Inspection 2017
At the heart of all library activities is the desire to create a passion for reading; everyone - staff, students and parents are encouraged to share their literary experiences.
A new Prep School library was opened in November 2013, and is now even busier and more vibrant place than the previous one, with its colourful displays, attractive shelving and furniture. The extensive range of books and multi media resources are selected to support the teaching and learning throughout the school. The addition of four laptops and an outside story garden, featuring our 'Picture Book Benches' enhance the facilities.
Every class has at least one lesson a week in the library and it is always full at break and lunchtimes with pupils reading, studying and browsing. The library is staffed by a qualified librarian and a part-time assistant, so help is always at hand.
Summer Reading Challenge: Be Curious This Summer
Pupils going into Shell, Form 1 and Form 2 are invited to take part in our Summer Reading Challenge, which features lots of reading suggestions for the long summer break. Based on the six subject areas and the timeline explored within Curiosity Club, which was briefly introduced to the pupils by John Gordon-Reid when he visited on Tuesday 18th June, these challenges provide opportunities for the pupils to make models, create drawings, write stories and take photos, as well as, of course, enjoy reading a range of fiction and information books. Finished challenges should be brought to the Prep School Library by Friday 13th September.
Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Award
Twelve Carnegie Group shadowers travelled to St Edmund’s College on Monday 17th June to discuss the eight titles on the shortlist for this most prestigious award for books for children and young people. As a group we have been discussing these books over the last two months and all credit must be given to these pupils as all of them had read all 8 titles, no mean feat at such a busy time. Five other local schools who had also been shadowing these titles were present, and the group discussions were lively and energetic. A vote was taken, and the winner on this occasion was announced to be Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, which is one of the three verse novels on this year’s shortlist. The whole group of twenty-two Lower 3rd pupils who had been shadowing the award over the last two months watched the livestreaming of the Awards ceremony on Tuesday, where the winner was announced – also Elizabeth Acevedo with Poet X!
Pupils said that they would recommend others to be Carnegie shadowers next year as it had opened their eyes to reading different genres and to discovering books they might not otherwise have come across.
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Book clubs for three different age groups are held regularly throughout the term; attendance is very high and discussions are lively and informed. Author visits are also very much part of the library programme, with our most recent visitors including Joseph Coelho, Marcus Alexander and Robin Stevens, to name just a few of the authors who met with pupils during the last Festival of Literature; earlier in the year we also enjoyed visits from Ross Montgomery and Lucy Saxon, and Skype meetings with a number of authors including Gill Lewis. In the past couple of years we have also enjoyed visits from a wide range of authors including Chris Bradford, Rick Riordan, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo and Steve Cole and we look forward to welcoming Andy Griffiths in October 2018.
In the Library we celebrate several landmarks throughout the children’s book year, with special events taking place to mark National Poetry Day, National Children’s Book Week and World Book Day. Pupils also cast their votes for the annual CILIP children's book awards and take part in the national Kids’ Lit Quiz and in Write Path, an international collaborative story writing project.
Every year we run a cross-curricular Library Challenge in the Prep School, incorporating a big event happening either in the outside world, such as the London Olympics in 2012, or a large school event, such as the Festival of Literature. This year pupils were invited to make models from A History of Architecture in 100 Buildings, the latest book by our Festival guest Dan Cruickshank, who then acted as judge at the end of the competition.
The Library often runs cross-curricular events, linking up with other departments in the Prep School. Last summer, for example, we teamed up with the English Department for a Murder Mystery challenge, with pupils working collaboratively to support their understanding and appreciation of the detective writing genre. The idea was for pupils to combine fun and learning!
Form 2 (Year 6) pupils have also enjoyed researching a topic of their choice in Curiosity Club, on the subject of either History, Science, Nature, Culture, Human Rights or Sport. At the end of the challenge, pupils presented their projects to the rest of the group and the results were fantastic and greatly varied: topics ranged from the seige of Troy to how to make an oil lamp!
Reading challenges, often in the form of house competitions, are used to encourage pupils to be as wide ranging and adventurous in their selection as possible. Last summer pupils were invited to take part in the Summer Library Challenge, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt", which resulted in some fantastic projects being brought into school at the start of the academic year. Their work was displayed in the library, revealing the effort, originality and creativity put into these outstanding projects, which ranged from photo diaries of travelling bears in places as far afield as the top of Ben Nevis, theatre shows in London and Lanzarote. There were also lots of different versions of the Michael Rosen poem, which see pupils going on a ghost hunt, a person hunt or a hare hunt.
Festival of Literature 2019
The Festival of Literature, originally inaugurated in 2009 by former Prep School Librarian, Rosie Pike, has become an annual fixture, with an impressive line up of literary luminaries. The aim of this week long Festival stems very much from the philosophy behind the library, which is to fuel a passion for all things literary in young and old.
You can read all about the Festival of Literature 2019 here.
Logging into the Library
There is a link to the College Library website in the Quick Links at the top of this page or here. You can log in and check what is available in the Prep and Senior School libraries, what you have on loan, renew your loans and reserve new titles. You will need to have asked the Librarian for a username and password before using this link.