The Library aims to provide a well-resourced and wide-ranging selection of books for all pupils. Through careful selection of both fiction and non-fiction it aims to encourage cross-curricular learning, intellectual curiosity, independent reading and a lifelong enthusiasm – and respect – for books.
Boys start to use the library in Year 1, when once a fortnight they come to learn how a library functions, and to have stories read to them. From Year 2, the boys have weekly library lessons. The content of the lessons changes as the boys progress through the school: Y2 – they are read to, they read to others and also silently to themselves, with plenty of discussion about books and reading; Y3 is where the focus sharpens and the boys begin to learn more about their own tastes and so gain confidence in their own reading choices; Years 4-6 are all about silent, focussed reading and the continual encouragement of diverse book choices. Formal reading lessons end in Year 6, but both the senior years are encouraged to use the library as a resource, particularly during that potentially difficult transition from children’s to teen/adult titles.
The library is clearly divided into fiction and non-fiction, with all the fiction clearly colour-coded as to reading-age suitability. Books are chosen to meet the specific needs of boys, but also to encourage them to read beyond the standard masculine fare of more traditional libraries. Graphic novels are a popular and ever-expanding section, with subjects ranging from the comic to the thought-provoking. The non-fiction covers the array of topics taught in the school, with a special emphasis on subjects that will be used in project work, along with books that the boys will find interesting or fun to browse through.
Boys participate in the day-to-day running of the Library. Assistant librarians are chosen from Year 6 and the librarians and the head librarian from Year 8 – posts for which there is always a healthy amount of competition! Pupil librarians catalogue, cover stock, put away returned books and helping them to choose. At break times the library is also an informal place for boys to meet, particularly those who might, for whatever reason, not fancy playing outside.
The driving force behind the library is the simple belief that reading is fun and that it enables everyone to experience lives other than their own, and so gain in empathy. Boys are encouraged to talk about books they’ve enjoyed and to share their enthusiasm with their peers. Since its beginnings in 2001 The Arnold House Library has grown to become an essential part of the school, bringing authors such as Anthony Horowitz, Tanya Landman, Steve Cole, Caroline Lawrence and Robert Muchamore in to speak to the boys, taking teams from Years 6, 7 & 8 to take part in the international Kids’ Lit Quiz and running small in-school competitions to encourage even the most reluctant reader to take an interest in the library.
If any parent has any query regarding their son and his reading, please do pop in and talk with the Librarian, Ms Leonie Flynn, who is always happy to offer reading suggestions.
Leonie Flynn, Librarian and Head of Reading Development