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.

Book Lovers Christmas trees!


Bookshelf Christmas tree

Book Christmas tree 2

It’s that wonderful time of year again, when I get pictures of amazing displays in my email!

Yesterday, not one but two beautiful and very different Christmas tree book displays were sent to me, and I love both of them, don’t you?  The first tree, minimalist on empty shelves is in Alderley Edge School for Girls in Cheshire and was created by librarian Ruth Wood; the second is in St. Mary’s Catholic School in Bishop’s Stortford and was created by the librarian Emma Halford, with help from the teaching assistants who suggested that she find a book with a star on the front  to go on the top of the tree!

I love both of these, and if you have any lovely Christmas displays, videos, or anything else seasonal to share, do send them to me.

Fantasy Fashion in North London Collegiate School

Use Fashion 5 Use Fashion 1

In my inbox this afternoon was one of those emails that just brightens up your day!  Jenny Bartlett from the North London Collegiate school emailed me to show off this wonderful display that her colleague Mr Chan had created in the library.  She told me that it is creating quite a buzz – as well it might!  Jenny explained the reason for the display:

‘Our school has an annual ‘Fantasy Fashion’ event, a charity fundraiser where pupils design and produce fantasy fashion outfits around a given theme, culminating in a fashion show complete with catwalk. We like to create library displays to tie in with school events, and for this year, bought some new books on fashion, design, creative textiles etc. Mr Chan, one of our librarians,  has created an incredible display that is placed right at our main entrance. We’ve extended the theme by incorporating and adapting well known book titles – so we have ‘A Streetcar named Denim’, ‘To Kilt a Mockingbird’, ‘Tender is the Nightgown’, ‘All the King’s Menswear’, amongst others!

He has also dressed a mannequin using withdrawn books, and this will be placed outside the library to publicise a competition, ‘Strike a Prose’, where pupils are invited to write a piece around the year’s theme. It will be interesting to see if extending our display beyond the library itself will bear fruit. We are hoping that the mannequin itself will take part in the fashion show, possibly on a set of wheels!

‘Fantasy Fashion is inspired in memory of a pupil. She spent part of her gap year working with the Karenni refugees in Burma, changed career direction and ended up working and living amongst them, but was sadly killed there in  a motorbike crash. Fantasy fashion each year is in her memory, and money raised goes to the refugees. Always a big thing here, and still attended by her parents.’

This is one of the most beautiful and innovative displays – especially the mannequin! – that I have seen for a while.  Don’t forget if you have a great display in your library, we would love to share it on Heart.

World Book Day tree


World Book Day tree

What are you planning to do for World Book Day – March 5th 2015?  This great idea from last year was sent in Shirley Greenough, Librarian at The Lancaster School in Leicester.  Shirley explains:

“Each boy (I am librarian at an all-boys state school) wrote the title of their favourite book or books on a leaf. I then added these to a Book Tree Display. The staff did the same on coloured flags which formed the border of the display.

 I was amazed at the amount of boys who completed the task and my tree grew and grew. Not as many staff completed their flags, but it made a wonderful display and I would recommend it for any school librarian on World Book Day.”

Advertising books – in the toilets!

Lucy Atherton from the Mallinson Library at Wellington College contacted me with a novel way of advertising books.  She had taken notice of the adverts you see on the back of toilet doors in public conveniences, and had decided to experiment with advertising her books in the same manner.  She started with three of the Carnegie shortlist – All the Truth that is in me, The Bunker Diaries and Rooftoppers.  The sheets were laminated (of course!) and put up in both male and female toilets.  It has brought pupils in to the library asking for books they wouldn’t necessarily have borrowed, and Lucy is preparing her next set of advertisements now.  Read more about it on her blog here.  The photos are below, but due to the lamination and the nature of the lighting, they are not as clear as they could be – but what an amazing idea, don’t you think?

All the Truth Rooftoppers Bunker Diaries


Backwell School WBN Events 2014


Snip20140516_3Last year, Backwell School Librarian, Anne Gibson was chosen to give Ness’s The knife of never letting go to teachers at her school (knowing they have little time to read for pleasure and concerned that they didn’t know how far teenage literature has come). Inspired by the runaway success of her actions (just about all teachers returned to the library desperate to borrow the following two books in the series and saying they had passed the book onto family and students) she decided to tackle 6th formers this year. Thrilled to see Matt Haig’s The Humans on the list, she encouraged four teachers to join her in applying to be “givers”. Each chose their favorite title which they also thought would appeal to 6th formers who are rarely seen reading for pleasure about school. She publicized the lunchtime event on the common room plasma screen and assembly on the day, setting up a display with sweets to encourage takers in the common room. Unbelievably, 10 minutes later it was all over! The only things left on the stand were a few sweets! Two weeks later and students are telling staff what they enjoyed and who they have passed their book onto. Anne also received a surprise call from Elodie and Joshua’s granny asking to “give” WBN book, The Recruit by Robert Muchamore to boys in school as her granddaughter had told her that they are not keen readers! Mr Conkie’s marvelous Random Generator was used during a Y7 assembly to choose lucky recipients, both boys and girls (as we couldn’t think of a fairer way!). Library staff have noticed Robert Muchamore’s books disappearing from the shelves as a result and one girl told us she was borrowing for her Mum!! Next year Anne is planning to ask staff to be Community Givers, by donating a book from their own library to students in their tutor groups or houses. She aims to package them attractively to heighten interest. (Brown paper bags and badges are going to feature!) This will leave more books on the website for you to apply for. She thoroughly recommends having a go and encouraging staff and students to share and talk about books. The effects will last for weeks.  If you want to see more about Backwell School’s reading journey, visit their fantastic blog.

Creating your own Literary Tube Map

So many of you asked me how Julie Aldous had created her Literary Tube map and if she had a template we could all use.  I am afraid that the display is hand drawn, but I did ask Julie to walk me through how it was created, so that it could be reproduced by any of us who were inspired to do so (me for a start!).  Julie also credits Matt Imrie for  inspiring her and helping her to find the blank tube map she started with.

To create the display:

Trace (or enlarge) a blank Tube map.  You can find one here or here.  Decide on which genres you wish to allocate to each of the Tube lines, count the stations on that line and draw up a list of books.

That is the display in essence, although it could be enhanced/varied in these ways.  You could have the ends of the lines as the harder, more stretching books in the genre.  You could also have the major crossing points where two lines/genres meet as books which can cross you over between one genre and another.  Julie said that lots of her pupils enjoyed following the lines and reading the books.  You could also, of course, create a reading task around this by having pupils read one book from every line/genre?  Anyway – if you feel inspired, go for it – and if you have photos, please share them on Heart.