The Latymer School Library supports the aim of the school “to provide a wide, liberal education”. We stock resources (books, ebooks, journals, ejournals and DVDs) that complement the many varied activities of the teaching departments. We provide a calm environment where students can read and reflect. The library is also a dynamic place where students can practise their research skills. We support and encourage independent learning, and offer advice on important issues such as avoiding plagiarism.
We promote Reading for Pleasure throughout the whole school community. This has been identified as an important facet of educational development. We work in partnership with parents, teachers, the public library service, bookshops and authors to foster an enjoyment of reading, and to encourage the students to keep exploring new horizons.
We do this through class reading lessons, book clubs, author visits.
Our library is a community hub, and we reflect significant days within and outside of school in special events, book launches, themed weeks and displays. In 2014, we had a display about the Normandy D-Day landings to tie-in with that anniversary. When Nelson Mandela died, our display reflected his life and work. We also featured Bruce Kent, peace activist and leader of CND, who visited the school in June. We celebrated World Book Day with a colourful “mystery reader” quiz featuring staff readers in disguise. Moving forward, we feature popular authors like John Green (The Fault in our Stars) or Cassandra Clare (The City of Bones) as well as new format graphic novels and eBooks. We encourage students to review books, and share recommendations with their friends.
LAYOUT OF THE LIBRARY
The Latymer School library is in two parts: the War Memorial and Ashworth Library is our lending library and the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) is our reference library. The War Memorial room houses the memorial books containing the names of Latymerians who served during World War II. The Lending Library has been completely relit, refurnished and the woodwork French polished, to create a spacious, peaceful and conducive reading and study space. Many students of all ages choose to study there, or visit at lunchtime. Sixth form students can borrow laptops to use in the Library, LRC or adjoining Small Hall.
The LRC is used for independent study by sixth formers during the day, or for classes which have a research component that requires a mixture of books and eresources such as a Year 8 Ethics project, or A level history coursework.
The library is staffed by Mrs McAllister (Librarian) and Mrs Yasmin (Assistant Librarian). The library desk is situated centrally so that we can offer guidance to all students. The school library is open 8.45 a.m. – 4.45 p.m. Monday to Friday during term time.
THE NETWORKED LIBRARY
We have the latest Oliver library management system, which allows us to catalogue books, journals, eresources and DVDs and make these available for loan to students and staff. Students can search the library catalogue any time they are logged on to the school system. We currently hold 18,000 resources, which are regularly updated. We catalogue websites and eresources on our OPAC, and are currently trialling ebooks for loan. This is an exciting time for information technology, with resources being made available in a variety of formats. Our aim is to offer a good mixture of resources, and maximise availability.
YEARS 7 - 9
We make contact with Year 7 at their form Welcome Evenings. This is because parents/carers are often the most important influence on their children’s reading and we want to work in partnership with them from the beginning. We run a Booktrust promotion, Bookbuzz, where thanks to support from APFLS, every Year 7 child can choose a book from a publishers’ selection. This generates excitement about reading early on.
Library induction: class library induction is held in conjunction with the students’ first ICT lesson. This sends the message that although we have a traditional library, all resources are networked and fully searchable, at home or at school via the Latymer system.
We then explain the Dewey reference system, and basic library skills such as how to borrow, return and reserve a resource. (Students can borrow 4-6 resources at a time.) Students then visit the library for a fortnightly reading lesson. English teachers, form teachers and librarians work together to foster an interest in reading, and sharing what we have read with our friends, by talking, group work, reviews and artwork.
In Year 8, we participate in the Carnegie Award Shadowing Scheme during summer term. As a book club, we read eight of the best books published for teenagers during that year, judge them, and compare our decisions with that of the official judging panel. We also put reviews and blogs on the national website. Developing their critical faculties encourages students to move their reading on to the next level.
We continue this in Year 9, when reading classes may also incorporate non-fiction themes, such as travel, history, sport, or poetry. We also stock a wide selection of books by international authors, or set in different countries. This reflects the diverse community of our school, and deepens awareness of issues encountered in geography or history.
YEARS 10 - 11
Although students are very busy with GCSE courses during these years, we continue to offer a good range of fiction including Young Adult fiction and non fiction. Students use books to inform their research for coursework projects in Art and Design, Technology and History. Some students volunteer to help at the library at lunchtime as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award.
YEARS 12 - 13
A very important part of our work is supporting our large sixth form. We provide induction to Year 12 students, and work with teachers to ensure that our Year 12 and 13 students have a rich mixture of critical resources to support their A level studies. Increasingly students need to access these in both traditional and eformats, and the library contributes to developing these resources in school, in conjunction with IT department.
As most of our students plan to go to university, we have developed extension reading lists for each department. We add to these each year. English and History students use the library while completing their long coursework essays. We work closely with the Art department, providing books that help to inspire students as they begin to develop their assessed art pieces. We have recently updated our Design and Technology collection to reflect the current priority of sustainable resources.
We have journals, books, comic books and DVDs in French, German and Russian to enrich modern language resources.
We aim to facilitate a calm, welcoming environment where students can focus on their individual study, work in groups, or work with their class teacher on projects. Librarians are always available to help the students with any queries.
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND PASTORAL RESOURCES
We strive to make sure that our library is equally accessible to all students. We will work with the SENCO to support students with dyslexia, Aspergers, or any other learning differences. The pastoral side of school life is also an important priority, and we include books that may be helpful to young people who encounter challenging situations, such as bereavement, during their time at school. These pastoral resources are developed in conjunction with the Deputy Head of Pastoral Care.
STAFF EDUCATION REFERENCE LIBRARY
We have a collection of resources bought for staff and student teachers who spend time with us. These are held in the LRC. We add to these each year.
ACTIVITIES AND RECENT HIGHLIGHTS
This year we enjoyed several very successful author visits. Sita Brahmachari, award-winning local author, talked to Year 9 about Kite Spirit, a moving novel set in London and the Lake District. We had an interesting dual-language visit when Anne Plichota and Cendrine Wolf talked to Year 7 about the British publication of Oksa Pollock, billed as “the French Harry Potter”. Finally we had an all-action visit from Chris Bradford, author of the Young Samurai series and Bodyguard series. He demonstrated Samurai and Bodyguard moves to Year 8 as well as talking about how he researches and writes his books. Many students bought his books, or borrowed them from the library.
These visits formed part of our World Book Day celebrations. We also promoted the Writes of Passage reading list, 50 must-read books for teenagers. This encouraged many students to try different books and authors.
We continue to develop our 6th form study facilities. We support the A-level history students with their A-level coursework, a substantial piece of research on themes such as the Russian Revolution. This year Latymer School joined The London Library so students can now access JSTOR (eResources) as well as borrow books from that larger collection. We also bought Drama Online from Methuen Drama, which allows students to access a large collection of plays and books about drama practitioners online. We have improved our A-level PE resources, working closely with teachers and students to make the books and journals as attractive and relevant as possible.
We participated in the Carnegie Medal Shadowing scheme, reading eight of the best books published for teenagers this year with a large group of Year 8 students. Highlights of the club included lively lunchtime debates about the books, voting for our school “winner”(All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry) and attending the Enfield Libraries Finale quiz event at Ridge Ave Library. Students said that the club had encouraged them to read books that they may not otherwise have read, and that they loved having a forum where they could talk about their reading.
This year, for the first time, we also shadowed the Stan Lee Excelsior Comic Book Award in a Comic Book club. We read and reviewed eight of the best comic books published this year. Our choice was Quantum and Woody. The detailed artwork of these books provides a really interesting counterpoint to books with more traditional text, and our students enjoy reading both. We look forward to developing new areas of Latymer library next year.