Leia Sands, librarian at Steyning Church of England Primary School, has been looking at ways to involve the whole school community in developing and using the school library.
“I have worked here for just over a year, over which time we have enhanced our library significantly," explained Leia. "I was excited to take part in the Love our Libraries course as it gave me the opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved and helped to guide my thinking as to where to take the library next.”
At the beginning of the school year, Leia felt that although the library is welcomed by the children, the challenge was to encourage all pupils in the school, rather than just the more able readers, to ‘fall in love with books’ and use the library more frequently.
“I used the reading interest survey from the course with each class to find out what it is that the children really wanted to read," said Leia. "I want our children to have ownership of the library and this survey has given us the opportunity to develop a ’bottom up’ approach to purchasing stock. We are lucky enough to have a fantastic school’s library service, who have lent us books that the children really want to read. We are in the process of putting a Foyles bid together to further improve and update our book stock. Alongside this we have started a group targeting the families of our reluctant KS2 readers. Whole-school events such as our Harry Potter night, Elmer Day and Where’s Wally? hunt have also contributed to the library’s ever increasing usage by pupils.”
The course also helped Leia to realise the wealth of support that could potentially enhance and develop the library. The school has decided to start a ‘Love Our Library’ committee. This group will meet bi-annually and aims to give all interested parties an opportunity to share ideas and be updated on school library developments.
“The meeting will be part led by our team of hard working pupil librarians," explained Leia. "We have invited our headteacher, English co-ordinator, librarians from the public library, school’s library service and local secondary school, parent representatives from our PTA and chatter packs group, governors and our local bookshop owner to attend. Alongside this the children are currently involved in entering a competition to design a logo for our forthcoming school library Twitter account. I am hoping that these two developments will shape the library making it feel more owned by all members of our school community."