Here at Simon Balle we are very fortunate to have two well-stocked libraries: the Main Library near the main school reception (with 8,500 volumes) and the Larch Library (4,000 volumes) situated in the atrium of the Primary building. We regard the Libraries as the cultural hub of the school, lying at the heart of our community. Our aim is to support teaching and learning throughout all year groups and to encourage reading for pleasure by all students and staff. It is well researched by the National Literacy Trust that those students who enjoy reading and read voraciously will have more opportunities and be successful in life.
In Reception all students visit the Larch Library each week: initially they listen to a story, learn about how the library is arranged and how they can borrow books. As the year progresses they are allowed to choose a library book and borrow it to read at home with a parent/carer. This instils in the students how we must respect and care for resources.
All Primary students visit their library regularly to change books and listen to stories. By the time they are in Year 5 those who are interested apply for the position of Student Librarian. This team of library helpers assists the Librarian with keeping the shelves tidy, creating displays and writing reviews to inspire other students.
Each November library staff organise an inspiring book festival where a range of visiting authors talk to different year groups about their writing. Students may purchase books signed by the author and we try to organise an informal lunch where student librarians can meet their favourite author. As part of the festival we work with Travelling Books to run a huge book fair. As well as students enjoying choosing and buying books this is a way families can support our libraries as we gain commission in the form of free books for both libraries.
As students journey up the school they are taught about the useful range of online resources we hold: Britannica Online, Philip Allan Reviews, Issues Online etc. to support their learning. The Librarian supports the Extended Project Qualification programme and all students are encouraged to join the local public library for a wider range of online databases. Likewise, we encourage students to borrow eBooks from the public library with whom we have a strong relationship.
Simon Balle Libraries showcases many positive features of our school community: parents regularly volunteer to assist in our libraries and students are inspired by the resources they find there.
- Rosemary Iles (Librarian)
- Kevin Belsey