Life as a pupil librarian

After reading the great article in the Guardian by pupil librarian James, I asked him to write a piece for Heart.  James was really pleased to do so.  I think he is a shining example to hold up to our pupil librarians, and we should encourage more of them to join his Facebook page. This is what James has to say:

I really enjoy my work as a Pupil Librarian in my School’s Library. I’ve been Pupil Librarian for just over 3 years.  The Library I work in is located in (or was- we are currently having a new roof fitted!)  a stunning building, perfect as a library. We even have our claim to fame- Isaac Newton’s signature (allegedly!) We have 2 library staff, and a team of 10 Pupil Librarians. Our Pupil Librarian team have to go through a proper application process….. preparation for working life!

We have a stock of around 10000 books, a growing selection of DVDs & audiobooks and we also subscribe to a number of magazines. We like (and encourage) pupil recommendations for stock in the Library.  As time has gone on, I’ve got more confident with using Web2.0 technologies- I now run the School Library Blog ( ), and have my own blog ( ) too! I’m currently experimenting with Glogster, Wikispaces and other Web 2.0 tools.

I also write the Library newsletter, which we produce termly. Book reviews, library news, updates on library closures, how students can get involved with the library, e-resources and how to get more out of our resources. Sometimes, I’ll write a piece all about a special library I’ve visited- Lincoln University Library, RHS Harlow Carr Library and my local library.  We run a Library Book Club, which we launched on World Book Day 2012- we had a good turnout and the club is going strong! The Library also hosts a Warhammer Club, run by our Librarian, which attracts a good number of pupils. All these activities aim to boost pupil awareness of the Library!  The School has a thought for the week, and I try to find a quote for our library blog……normally a thought for the month. I think the Dr Seuss quotes are great.

Displays are also important in our library. The whole library team contribute to the displays, and pupils like to get involved as well- it’s good fun! Just before we broke up for Summer, we did a collage of book covers- wild and wacky, but really well received by pupils. Everyone wanted to share a book they liked- from gardening to Warhammer magazines, George Orwell to GCSE study guides.  So, I do hope I can continue my work as a Pupil Librarian into sixth form. I took part in CPD23 in 2011, contribute to various library forums and am currently a member on The Guardian Children’s Books website. I am also the co-founder and moderator of the Student Library Assistants’ Network(SLANet), a group for pupil librarians like me to share ideas and discussions about their work within the school library! The link for the group is:

By James K, November 2011    Pupil Librarian

Library re-opens in school – Carterton College in Oxford.

In amongst all the stories about school libraries closing, I was sent this good news story by Rosemary Stables, Head of English in Carterton College.  This is her story – and isn’t it great to be able to report on school libraries reopening in some schools!  And what a beautiful, funky library it is – I bet the students love it!

‘Our library at Carterton Community College in Oxfordshire was closed four years ago by a previous Head who wanted the space for an Engineering suite.  The library was moved to a much smaller (and clearly unsatisfactory) room.  Much of the non-fiction was disposed of.  Our librarian left.  This smaller room was then needed for another purpose so the remaining book stock was put into storage.   
We tried to maintain a focus on reading for pleasure in the school (I was Head of English here at the time).  But this was never going to be easy without a library and a full-time librarian with specialist knowledge of books for young people.
In the meantime, the Head who made the original closure decision had left the school.  We now have a different Head who believes in the value of libraries, books and reading.  With the support of the governors, he decided we needed to restore the library.  I was really excited about this project and I moved out of my role in the English Department in order to run it.  But I’m not a trained librarian and have been very grateful for advice from local school library staff, the SLA and others. 
We started with an empty room, took the old books out of storage and talked to the students about what sort of library they might like.   As the room isn’t huge, flexibility became our key word, so we have furniture that can be moved around easily.  Students wanted colours that were quite cool and funky – so we went for grey with splashes of lime green, purple and orange.  Reactions have been really positive.  There are plenty of new books on the shelves now (although we still need many more).  We have new ICT equipment, access to a small garden, and messages, posters and books from supportive authors.
On 11th September 2012 the new library was formally opened by Sir Tim Brighouse.  We know this is only the first stage and there is a massive task ahead to restore a reading culture here.  But it’s great to have a good news story to tell!’

Barbara Band speaks up for school libraries

Watch this TES web chat where school librarian Barbara Band, who organised the recent Mass Lobby of Parliament speaks up for school librarians and puts the case for keeping libraries in the heart of every school.  And watch out for a mention of this website round around the 10 minute mark – what we say and do on this website is important in advocacy, so please keep your stories coming in!

Time to register for the Stan Lee Excelsior Comic Book Award

It’s time to register for the most original book award, the Stan Lee Excelsior Comic Book Award.  Registration is now open, and the shortlist for the 2013 award is announced in mid-December. Registration is free, all it will cost you is £75 for each set of the shortlisted books you want for your school.  You can read up about the award on the website here:  Express your interest in registering by emailing Paul Register, founder of the award on this email address: