This blog entry is part of a series of four posts about my two week work placement at University College School’s Enav Library.
Visit to the Junior Branch
During the second week of my placement at UCS, I spent one day shadowing the Librarian at the school’s Junior Branch which caters for pupils aged between 7 and 10. The Library at the Junior Branch was much smaller than the Library at the Senior School, but it was still well-equipped with reading material, working space and Macs for the children to use.
Unlike at the Senior School, the children were responsible for checking out any books that they wanted to borrow using the self-issue system. The library management system was very child-friendly, but I was quite impressed with the level of detail which the children were able to apply to their searches when they looked for books using the OPAC. I did a search for ‘Harry Potter’ and was offered the option to search by title, author, keywords, series, classification, genre and more. This seemed to me to be quite advanced for primary school level, but I suppose that I have no point of comparison given that the only computer we had at my primary school was an Acorn that played Pac-Man and not much else!
The Junior Branch Library supports an initiative called the Renaissance reading scheme, the aim of which is to enable the boys to improve their reading ability. The books within the scheme are divided into different levels (rather than ages) and the boys have to read a certain number of books at their level before completing multiple choice quizzes about these books on the computer. The quizzes aim to test the boys’ comprehension of the books’ content, and they must score between 90-100% on a given number of books before they can move up to the next reading level. The software which is used for this scheme is also able to count the number of words within each book, and when a boy has read a million words he is given the status of ‘Word Millionaire’ and has his picture displayed on the Library notice board, which I thought was a lovely idea.
While I was shadowing the Librarian, I had the opportunity to observe a couple of English lessons because the children often take their English lessons in the Library and they are encouraged to use the Library’s resources. During one lesson I was lucky enough to hear the children reading aloud from their own pieces of creative writing, which I have to say were of an extremely high standard!
All in all, it was a very interesting day and I’m very grateful to the Librarian for taking the time to show me around and talk to me about the Library 🙂