Celebrating 20,000 loans last school year at Plumstead Manor

Plumstead 20000 loansJennie Paton, Librarian at Plumstead Manor, held a very special celebration at the end of last year.  This is what she told me:

Plumstead Manor is a London girl’s school with a little under 1500 students and last term at PML we noticed our students were on the verge of doing something spectacular: they were well on their way to borrowing 20,000 resources in just one year!  Well, we couldn’t not celebrate, could we? We had high hopes and lots of plans but with the end of term approaching we had to settle on just three of our original schemes. So, we chose one idea which would reward the whole school, one to celebrate our best readers, and one that would let us share our student’s love of books with the world.

To reward the whole school we allowed students, much to their delight, to take a book over the summer holidays. It might not sound like much, many schools do it every year, but after years of books lost in exotic locales it was quite a leap for us (and were waiting with baited breath to see how many we get back!). There’s nothing like getting a cheer from a class full of year 8’s when you tell them they can read more, that is what they mean by ‘reading culture’!

To reward our best readers and our regular visitors we gave awards for some of the more (and less) obvious achievements, most books borrowed, most reviews written, biggest otaku; and prizes for the borrower of every 500th book until we reached our total. Students loved checking our totaliser in the school reception every day to find out if they were the umpteenth-hundreth borrower.

The hardest and most ambitious part of our celebration however is the one that is going to continue to be the most rewarding for years to come: we decided to Bookcross (www.bookcrossing.com) 100 of our school’s favourite books of all time! Bookcrossing lets you ‘release’ a book into the wild and track its journey wherever it goes.  

Leading up to the last week of term we sent surveys to every form group and every member of staff asking them to nominate their top ten books of all time and let us know why they were so great. Then we had a couple of weeks to work out the top 100 (surprise, surprise John Green got a lot of votes), find the books, and get them all labeled up ready for their adventures.

On the last Wednesday of term our Readers’ Club headed out to London with many bags of books, to drop off as many as we could at landmarks around the city. We live tweeted our whole adventure (@pmschoollib) and the girls, and even some of the authors loved it!  Cathy Cassidy sent her followers straight out to find the copy of Cherry Crush we hid in Leicester Square!  Though I think by far the best moment of the day was outside the Tower of London, when the girls spotted a couple picking up the book we had just left. They were ecstatic!

Anyone else have comparable figures? I would be very pleased to loan out half as many books!

 

Alice in Wonderland Celebrations at Bishop’s Stortford

DSC_8849On Monday 29th June, the Prep School had a day full of Alice in Wonderland. For the Prefects Charity Day pupils were invited to dress to meet the Alice theme! There was also a themed Tea Party as part of the Library book club, at which over 60 pupils, from Year 3 to 6 attended, ate some truly wonderful cakes which had enticing messages, and answered questions in the Mad Hatter’s Quiz.

The White Rabbit made a very late appearance… There was a dormouse librarian, who unfortunately kept falling asleep.

The pupils over the last few weeks have been enjoying a range of Alice themed activities – from maths lessons featuring Alice in Numberland, to entering a short story competition in which they were invited to describe their idea of Wonderland.

As this is the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carrol’s children’s classic, it was the perfect theme to celebrate the end of term for the Prep School who have all worked so hard this year.DSC_8850

Festival of Literature ends term at Bishop’s Stortford College

The Sixth Bishop’s Stortford College Festival of Literature was another fabulous event. With guests ranging from the controversial David Starkey, to the coastal adventurer Nicholas Crane and political columnist Steve Richards, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Festival Co-Ordinator and Prep School Librarian, Rosie Pike, said: “The highlight of this year was to see the excitement on the children’s faces at so many of the events during the week. The youngest were spell bound by Jan Blake’s captivating storytelling; pupils cheered loudly as the winner of the Picture Book Award was announced, and Sixth Formers were moved from tears to laughter by Luke Wright’s poetry.  For in this way we can hope to nurture a future generation of story–loving, fact-discovering and poetry-guzzling visitors to Festival events for many years to come.”

The 2015 Bishop’s Stortford Picture Book Award was also part of the Festival of Literature. Fifteen local primary and secondary schools cast over 1900 votes to pick the 2015 winner out of a shortlist of nine titles. “Oi Frog” written by Kes Gray and illustrated by Jim Field was this year’s worthy winner and was the clear favourite in seven of the voting schools. Kes’ funny, fast paced rhyming book had pupils in fits of laughter as he read it aloud. Cats sit on mats, pumas sit on satsumas and, before he left the stage, he revealed a Kes sits on his Fez to much amusement!

In second place, which was clearly a secondary school favourite, was Chris Haughton’s “Shh! We have a Plan”, and in third place was Alex T Smith’s “Foxy and Egg”.

Award winning illustrator Nick Sharratt hosted the event and the College were delighted Peter Bentley, Kes Gray, James Mayhew and Richard Byrne were able to attend the award ceremony along with 200 pupils from the College and local schools who had voted.

Bishop’s Stortford College’s resident cartoonist Simon Bailey presented his unique College adaptation of Kes’s “Oi Frog” at the end. This will be placed proudly on display in the Prep School library.
The College also joined in the first ever Harry Potter Book Night as part of the Festival where the Prep School could celebrate everything Potter.

Prep School Pupils received their invitations by owl post which caused great initial excitement. After being grouped into Hogwarts houses by wearing the Sorting Hat, Harry Potter themed games, including a version of Quidditch, earned all the pupils house points. Wizarding Snacks and Pumpkin Juice was followed by a quiz and the winning House, Slytherin, was awarded an Owl trophy.

The hall had been fantastically decorated in true Hogwart’s style; pupils could even pop by Ollivanders for a new wand or visit Gringott’s Bank for some chocolate coins! A fantastic time was had by all.

 

 

Author Dan Freedman scores with QEGS!

Val Dewhurst, the librarian at QEGS, sent me this article:

Snip20150709_66“The senior school library recently received a wonderful gesture and gift from author Dan Freedman which included a copy of his prequel to the Jamie Johnson series, Born to Play to use as a prize for the most promising football player in Year 7, and to celebrate the end of the school year and football season. This was swiftly forwarded on to our PE Department where Mr Hindle took control and was quick to announce that Tom McCann 7NJP was the student who deserved this award.  The author Dan Freedman is eager to know of our student choice and has promised to include this news on his own website www.danfreedman.co.uk
 
Dan commented “over the last few weeks to celebrate the end of the school year we have been sending copies of Born to Play to some of the schools around the country, that I know well (QEGS being one of those schools) and have asked that they be presented to their most talented footballer in Year 7.  I’m sure it’s been a very difficult choice for them but I am very much looking forward to hearing their news.”
 
Dan Freedman who came to visit QEGS 2 years ago, has himself a strong passion for reading, writing and for football and loves nothing more than to encourage reading through sport and sport through reading… particularly football.”

School Library Camp, Midlands

For the second year running the Midlands will host a School Library Camp.
This year we have decamped (sorry!) to the north of the region and the 2015 event will be held at the University of Derby’s main campus at Keddleston Road.
More details about the location here:
We will be shamelessly using the same date as Darren’s Manchester event which is Saturday 11th July of course. Doors open 10:00 and we expect to be finished and wiping up cake crumbs by 3:00pm.
Click here for more information and to grab your free tickets:
At last year’s event we discussed all sorts of stuff from our policies towards noise to using Minecraft. What will you discuss this year? Pitch your ideas or see what others want to talk about here:
We look  forward to seeing you there!
Sonja, Karin and Carl – 2015 organisers.

 

Hogwarts Express to Old Buckenham

Andrea Hassan, Librarian at Old Buckenham High School in Norfolk, shares this wonderful event with us.  Sounds and looks like a wonderful time was had by everyone!  (Permission was given for all pupils shown to appear on the website.)

OBHS Harry Potter Eve 2015 Library

After months of planning it was time for Old Buckenham High School students and staff to share the magic at their first ever Harry Potter Big Event this week.

 Forty seven wizards and muggles convened after school for an evening of fun activities designed to celebrate the books. The event started in the school library with students donning the Sorting Hat to be placed into the four Houses; Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin. Once OBHS Harry Potter Eve 2015 Sorting Hatassembled they embarked on a Diagon Alley Hunt followed by a Quidditch Tournament in which the house teams received points for each Quaffle goal they scored before the Golden Snitch was thrown into the hoop – no mean feat considering everyone involved had to hold a wand during play!

 After their zealous performance refreshments were served, with drinks in potion bottles aptly labelled ‘Wolfshane Potion’, ‘Flesh-Eating Slug Repellent’ and ‘Bubotuber Pus’. Students also made wizarding name OBHS Harry Potter Eve 2015 Quidditchbadges, decorated cupcakes and had the chance to earn house points in the Harry Potter Bingo and Quiz with the winning house being announced at the end of the evening in the Prize Ceremony. There was much rejoicing as Slytherin received the title ‘House Victor 2015’ with a staggering 610 points, 130 points more than Ravenclaw in second place. Year 7 student Tilly Rawling won the best decorated cupcake competition and many more prizes were handed out in the raffle.OBHS Harry Potter Eve 2015 House Points

OBHS Harry Potter Eve 2015 cupcakes

 

Reasons to justify a visit from an Author/Illustrator

At a recent LibMeet author Chitra Soundar presented this great slideshare.  It gives lots of reasons why you should invite an author in, and ways you can justify it to your Senior Management Team.  Full of facts and quotes, this is an informative and useful piece of advocacy.  Thanks to Chitra for allowing me to share it more widely.

World Book Day with author Tom Palmer

Snip20150309_1Librarian Mrs Dewhurst from QEGS Blackburn tells us of a great World Book Day her pupils enjoyed with the author Tom Palmer:

On World Book Day, Thursday 5th March, a day full of sporty reading took place with visiting author Tom Palmer. An energetic Year 6, 7 and 8 all joined in with the reading football game which was a massive success, with prizes for all the winners. The buzz of books and reading echoed throughout school while the sound of the penalty shoot out could be heard loud and clearly from the Library Annexe.

Head of Library, Mrs Dewhurst was delighted with the week saying ” we’ve had a lot of events taking place this week – we wanted to give everyone the chance to join in, making it a whole school book week. It takes a lot of planning to put a book week together, but absolutely worth it – to see just how many students got involved this week has been fantastic. The author session was the icing on the cake and extremely touching to see the love and passion for books shine through , and the enthusiasm from Year 6 was breathtaking with over forty Tom Palmer books being sold! The lunchtime book signing session was extremely popular with students queueing with their books, footballs, sportswear – all for signing. The author really did ensure every student left happy.

More details about Tom Palmer’s books and photos of the day can be found at:
https://www.facebook.com/QegsLibraryBlackburn
http://tompalmer.co.uk/

World Book Day 2015 – what did you do?

EmiWBD15 Prestonly Corley, Librarian at Lightcliffe Academy in Halifax, writes about a very special World Book Day her pupils experienced. She wrote:

On Thursday 5th March year7&8 pupils from Lightcliffe Academy in West Yorkshire celebrated books and reading in style by travelling to Preston for the flagship World Book Day event. There were 5000 students at the event and the atmosphere was electric! We saw 5 authors including Cathy Cassidy who inspired us to use our local library and told us that daydreaming is a great way to come up with stories. Cressida Cowell showed us how to DRAW a dragon and Danny Wallace made us all laugh. As a final treat, all students received a signed copy of a book by their favourite author. It was definitely worth the two-hour journey to get there!

What did you do in your school that was special?  Let me know and I will either post it here, on Facebook or tweet it. Let’s celebrate all the wonderful work we do!

Harry Potter Night at Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School

Harry Potter-007

Anita, Librarian at Merchant Taylors’ school in Liverpool, sent me her account of what they got up to on Harry Potter Night.  It sounds fantastic! She says:

“I had 80 years 3 and 4 for 90 minutes doing three of a ten activity programme. Somehow I managed to persuade eleven teachers to run an activity after school for no extra pay (lots of approval points though) and then further persuade our deputy head to be Professor McGonagall complete with sorting hat. Altogether there were 20 of us last night all gowned up, playing Quidditch,making mini Hedwigs,watching an amazing science demonstration,learning Latin spells,following a mischief map,learning about the history of magic,doing mini science ,astronomy and making wands. Even refreshments were HP themed green jelly with sour spiders,pumpkin juice and cupcakes.”

A fuller description and photos can be found on the school website.  Pictured here is Deputy Head Jane Tyndall in the guise of Professor McGonagall.