In 2017, the Governors of our school agreed for £10,000 to be used to develop a school library. It was decided, after speaking to children and staff, that class libraries were not being used to their fullest. With a drive towards improving reading standards across school, and also encouraging 'Reading for Pleasure', the decision was made to create a central library. We wanted to create a place where children could gain a very real experience of visiting a library, search for books and scan their items in and out.
First job was to allocate our space in school. For a school our size this was more difficult than you might think!
SPACE FOUND! Once we had a room that we could use we moved onto to stage 2.
Stage 2... What would be in our library? A relatively silly question you may think but bear with us! There is the need for furniture and obviously books...but what sort of books? Would we simply fill our library with an assortment of fantastic reads or would there be more of a system to it all? Through many conversations, it was decided that we would invest in Accelerated Reader. A system whereby children read a book of their choosing and then are able to quiz (answer questions electronically). From this, adults would be able to guide children towards the books that are appropriate to their reading level.
Stage 3... Furniture and books. After a visit to Peter's Book Store in Birmingham, Mrs Dagg and Mrs Fletcher , armed with a substantial amount of funding were set free in the wonders of the book store. Navigating shelves after shelves they were able to quickly fill the trolleys with books that were going to inspire our next generation of readers. Coupled with ordering furniture to stack the new books on from the Peters's catalogue, we were nearly ready.
Stage 4... Furniture and book delivery. With furniture delivered it was time for Mr Davies to put together the new shelving. Once this was done, then came the task of adding the books, not only onto the shelves, but also onto a library management system. This seemed to take an age in itself. Books were labelled, scanned and then given their new home. Library complete!
Fast forward to 2019
The library had served a purpose and over the past 2 years hundreds of books had been scanned in and out. Children were making progress and had been enjoying reading with over 180,000,000 words being read across Key Stage 2. However, feedback from children was that the books and the library was tired. The books were becoming tatty, the shelves were lacking inspiring titles and quizzing was slowing down. The library, as a location, was no longer fit for purpose. It was a long room with windows along one of the long walls. 'Nowhere to put any posters or reviews' was part of the feedback from children. Next comes the Parkgate library makeover!
A range of conversations between Mr Wainwright (new in September) and Mr Henley. A shall we, shan't we conversation! When would be the best time? How disruptive would it be?
Then comes the... no time like the present. So with 4 days until the October half term break all library books were recalled. A proposal through the Governors for funding and we were up and running.
Stage 1... Find a new home for the library. Done. What was the GAP room and used by adults was now going to become the new library. Speak to children about what they would like in terms of the aesthetics and also the books collections.
Stage 2... Visit Peter's...again, to restock the library shelves. Order placed.
Stage 3... Recall all books and get them into baskets, off the shelves.
Stage 4... Begin the swap around of furniture and back new display boards. (This also incorporated a trip to Ikea!)
Stage 5... Analyse the reading data to see the ZPD ranges that our children used. This was an eye opening task in itself. What we found is that we had a huge selection of books that weren't being accessed. From this data we were also able to find the ranges where many of our children were accessing. This meant we were able to stock the shelves more effectively.
Stage 6... Sift through the books (children and adults), to remove the old and the tatty books or the books that children weren't accessing.
Stage 7... Put the books back on the shelves. Huge thanks to Mrs Wainwright...Mr Wainwright's mum!
Our new library was good to go. So we thought.
Children returned from their half-term break and completed their star testing. This gave them their most up-to-date ZPD to support with their selection of books. Children from years 3 to 6 were taken for their first library experience in the new library. Very quickly shelves were emptying. We found that the ZPD of 2.0 - 3.0 needed more books, so children from year 3 had a session of online shopping to order books that they might like to read. Fast forward 5 days and 200 child selected books were delivered ready to be placed in the library.