At St John’s we believe that reading is a vital skill for every child and we wish to promote a love of reading and gathering knowledge in all our children.
For these reasons our school library is seen as being central to all learning within the school and somewhere where children are exposed to a wide range of all resources to help them not only access fiction books and fun reads, but also non-fiction resources to help with school topics and homework. We also believe in promoting library skills to children at an early age so that they gain the life skill of knowing how to access suitable information; something that they will need in secondary schools and later, if they proceed to Further or Higher Education.
After much planning and hard work our school library opened to children in June 2014. Our librarian, Mrs Garrett, has brought together a large collection of library materials for the school, generously helped by a grant of £5000 from the Foyle Foundation.
The school library is a large, bright room on the first floor of the school. We have chosen colourful furniture with some great feature items for the library to make it an inviting learning environment for the children. The message that we want to give being that reading is fun!
The library holds over 10000 items; these are arranged in three main areas – non-fiction, fiction and picture books. We also have a collection of audio books and magazines. The library is laid out in a traditional manner with all non-fiction being arranged by the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme. This is the same layout as will be found in public libraries, secondary school libraries and academic libraries. By getting the children used to this at an early age they are learning transferable skills that will be useful to them throughout their lives. The fiction books are arranged according to their Accelerated Reader classification. This is a system that is used in many schools to help promote a love of reading in children. Children are able to choose books to suit their reading level and then have the opportunity to take a test on the books they have read; acquiring points and moving through the levels.
Details of all the library materials are kept on a computerised library catalogue. Every item of library stock is issued with a bar code and can then be borrowed using a bar code scanner; the children can all borrow two items at a time from the library.
We are very proud of our school library and believe that we have created a resource which will both encourage children to read and grow in their reading ability and research skills. This is supported by a recent report by the Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) which says that school libraries are vital in helping children develop literacy skills and a love of reading, and also that every child should have access to a library within their own school.