Department Background

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 special events, 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.

In 2016-17 these included Shakespeare's 400th anniversary, National Poetry Day, Black History Month, Holocaust Memorial Day, World Book Day, International Women's Day and Mental Health Awareness week. We enjoyed visits from Joe Sumner and Evie Wyld (graphic novel authors), Natasha Farrant (author) and Mario Petrucci (poet). We have a lively book club programme, this year featuring two book clubs, A-Z of Authors and Action Adventure Book Clubs for Year 7, and Carnegie Award Shadowing Book Club for Year 8. We encourage students to engage with us in the library, recommending books to us and to their friends.


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 Matheson (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.


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.


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.


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.

Year 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. The Year 7 Reading list can be found here

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.

Year 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.

Year 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.

Activities and Recent Highlights

Check out our new instragram page @libraryatlatymer

December 2016- Latymer Library is pleased to announce the arrival of Latymer eLibrary, where staff and students can borrow a range of popular fiction and classic ebooks free of charge (initially being trialled with Years 7 and 10). Please click here for the eLibrary. For FAQ please click here

For World Book Day 2015 we invited Candy Gourlay, author of Shine to talk about how the natural environment of her native country, the Philippines has influenced that culture, and her own stories. We created a large "Around the World in 80 Books" map where staff and students suggested books set in different countries until we could circumnavigate the world! A Mystery Book promotion was also popular.

Red Leaves, a novel by local author Sita Brahmachari, set in Highgate Woods, was shortlisted by Amnesty International as likely to promote understanding across cultures. Sita visited school and talked to Year 7 about diverse and topical themes such as a sense of home, homelessness and refugees.

A visit by local poet Mario Petrucci for National Poetry Day 2015 highlighted the power of poetry to communicate, even on scientific subjects like ecology and the environment. Year 10 students commented that Mario's perspective and creative writing workshops were "inspiring".

We continue to develop our 6th form study facilities. We support the A-level History and English students working closely with teaching staff on resources. . This year Latymer students will be able to access JSTOR and other high-quality research resources such as Drama Online from Methuen Drama, which allows students to access a large collection of plays online.

Find self help in your local library Reading Well for young people recommends expert endorsed books about mental health, providing 13 to 18 year olds with advice and information about issues like anxiety, stress and OCD, and difficult experiences like bullying and exams. The books have all been recommended by young people and health professionals, and are available to borrow for free from public libraries. The school library also stocks a selection of titles, both fiction and non fiction, that we are helpful to our students in thinking about and dealing with difficult issues. This facility is set in the context of our pastoral care at school, where form tutors, Heads of Year and the Assistant Headteacher liaise with pupils and staff to ensure that each student is well supported. Find more information here: Reading Well

Reading Well promotes the benefits of reading for health and wellbeing. The programme has two strands: Books on Prescription and Mood-boosting Books. Reading Well Books on Prescription helps you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using self-help reading. The scheme is endorsed by health professionals and you can borrow the books free from your local public library.

Reading Well Mood-boosting Books is a national promotion of uplifting titles, including novels, poetry and non-fiction. The books are all recommended young people, and again, can be borrowed free from your local public library or from the school library. The books were chosen for various reasons: because they show how to live with a mental health condition, because they remind the reader that they are not alone, or simply, because they make readers feel happy!

Year 8 Carnegie Shadowing Book Club

Year 7 receive their wrapped mystery books on World Book Day,

A French class working on their translation skills in the Library

Mario Petrucci led a creative writing workshop with Year 10 students when he visited for National Poetry Day

We were thrilled to welcome best-selling author Anthony Horowitz to Latymer as our Foundation Day speaker. In his address at our service at All Saints Church, he told us how, as a young person, he had escaped into the marvellous world of books. Books were not simply books, he said – each book was a doorway to a new world, that could be uniquely interpreted by our own imaginations. As an adult, he became a published author, and persevered with his writing until his tenth book, Stormbreaker, the first in the Alex Rider series, was a runaway success. He has now sold over 19 million books worldwide. After the Service, Anthony Horowitz met a group of Year 7, 8 and 9 students in the Ashworth Library, where he talked to them, signed copies of their books, and had photos taken with them. These students had participated in book clubs, entered writing competitions – or simply loved the books. They were all very excited to meet the author, and to have their books signed by him.

Popular author of both children and adult literature Lissa Evans visited the school and delivered an entertaining assembly to pupils in Year 8.

Each year students shadow the judging process of the CLIP Carnegie Book Award. Over several weeks, students read, discuss and review the books on the shortlist and vote for their winner in the Shadowers’ Choice Awards.

We have been very lucky to have author and playwright Sita Brahmachari visit the school on a number of occasions. She has worked with different year groups helping students to develop their own creative writing skills. In her role as an Amnesty Ambassador, Sita also ran a workshop with Latymer’s own Amnesty Youth Group.