Mrs Sarah Huck and Mr Matthew Naish
Librarians at Dame Allan's Schools, Newcastle
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As schools around the world continue to celebrate International School Library Month, Librarians Mrs Sarah Huck and Mr Matthew Naish, from Dame Allan’s Schools, Newcastle, talk to us about the importance of school libraries and share their top tips for making the most of the library for pupils and staff.
Mrs Huck: “Libraries should feel like an oasis in what can be very busy schools. As Dame Allan’s Library Manager, it is up to me to make sure that as far as possible we have something in the libraries to appeal to everyone, whether that is to help a Year 7 with their homework, to support a Year 12 doing their EPQ research, or to keep Nursery children supplied with lots of colourful picture books.
“Obviously, I love books, but my favourite part of the job is spending time with pupils, helping them to find just the right book. There is no better feeling than when you have recommended a book to someone, and they come back to you and say they absolutely loved it and is there another one in the series or by the same author, please?
“At Dame Allan’s, students and staff are encouraged to recommend books that they have found particularly enjoyable or interesting and I am always looking for more suggestions. We have magazines, graphic novels and manga books to appeal to the widest range of readers and students and staff can also access our eplatform for digital copies.”
So, what are Mrs Huck and Mr Naish’s top tips for making the most of the school library?
Mrs. Huck: “We are fonts of knowledge about authors and books. We can find the answer to virtually any question – or we know where to find a book or website which can answer it. Librarians are like Google, only better – we don’t just find an answer, we find the right answer.
Mr. Naish: “I agree, come talk to the Librarians! We’re happy to help with anything, from recommendations to research, and whatever else you may need! Whether pupils are already super-confident readers or feeling a bit lost, we will always find time for a chat and will always do our best to point them in the right direction.”
Mrs Huck: “Take out books, magazines, learn where the subjects that really interest you are kept. If we don’t have a book you want or need, ask us for it.”
Mrs Huck: “Library events are a great opportunity to make new friends with people with similar interests. For example, we just held a very successful – and competitive – Harry Potter book quiz that was full of pupils of all ages.”
I also like to mark particular occasions on the calendar by producing a display using books from the libraries. For example, at the moment we are marking Black History Month with a display featuring black authors and stories.”
Mr Naish: “I love organising competitions, it creates a real buzz around the library, and it is great to see the enthusiasm building with pupils.”