Hay Levels – have you seen them yet?

The Hay Levels is a new YouTube channel, with 3-5 minute short films by leading academics and experts on various subjects to do with AL subjects.  They include Simon Singh talking about the Big Bang Theory, Marcus du Sautoy talking about Trigonometry and Logarithms, Richard Dawkins on Irreducible Complexity in religion and Simon Schama on the Weirdness of History.  Great as lesson starters to get pupils thinking – and free!

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 (http://libraryatkings.blogspot.co.uk/ ), and have my own blog (http://libraryassistant.blogspot.co.uk/ ) 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: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SLANet/

By James K, November 2011    Pupil Librarian

Embedding videos on your school site

The video player that I have used to embed the book trailers on this site is called VPFactory.    When Vodpod closed I was really upset, as I loved their embeddable widget and missed it from Heart.  However, this site is free and much better, I think, as you can make customised players which allow people to choose the video they want.  Using and uploading the videos is free and very easy.  I have made customised players for different book genres on my new school website, for instance.  I am not being sponsored for this by the way, just thought you would all like to know about a fabulous new tool for promoting reading!

A fantastic school library website

One of the privileges of writing this blog, is the fantastic emails with information that I get sent.  This is an example of one such email.  Frances Tout, the librarian at Broadoak School wrote to me to show me the fantastic comment wall that her school library made in response to National Library Day.  Students and staff were invited to make comments on post-it notes and to attach them to this wall – and just look at the number of great responses she received!    Then Frances went on to mention her school library website, and would I like to take a look.  The website is amazing, and one of the best examples of a school library website that I personally have come across. The website has everything students need – author websites, latest news, subject links, information links, student and staff top books – it is jammed full of great information, but with a readable, unfussy style.  Frances reports that the Year 7 students have really taken to the blog, as have staff, and there is a staff only area which has the latest reports on reading and literacy.  I hope you agree that this is an example of exactly why we need professionals in our schools – librarians are so much more than just ‘book stampers’ and Frances is a great example of this.