The Dixie Grammar School Junior School Library Initial Assessment May 2011 Anne Robinson, the Librarian at The Dixie Grammar School, visited the Junior School on 19 May 2011 to make an assessment of the library and to ascertain how she could support its future development. Location The library is now sited in a former classroom on the top floor of the Junior School main building with the main computer suite next door. The room is pleasant and airy. Furniture and equipment The library walls are a pale colour and the carpet appears to be in a reasonable condition. The available wall space is broken up by a number of doors and a fireplace. There is a white board on the wall, which could be useful for teaching purposes. Shelving is adequate for the present collection and is of varying types. Most was custom built around ten years ago and there are some moveable trolleys and a kinder box type unit for the nursery age picture books. The shelving is beginning to show its age and some is sagging with the weight of books. There is little flexibility for different sizes of books or ability to display books face-on. There is some signage and guiding of the shelves, although this needs to be renewed very soon. A large table which seats eight pupils stands in the centre of the room. As classes are up to 16 pupils maximum, some pupils have to sit on the floor. There is one bean bag and one easy chair. The library desk is an old type with only two shallow drawers for storage of library stationery and equipment and there is a classroom chair â€“ this is unsuitable ergonomically. There are some notice boards for posters which are partially obscured by shelving. Some books could be displayed on top of the shelving units. The large space on the landing outside has two tall shelving units and notice boards which would offer further scope for displays. There are no storage cupboards for library stationery and equipment or for books awaiting processing. There are two doors either side of the fireplace behind which are cupboards storing text books and exam papers. There is a limited amount of library stationery and equipment â€“ some labels, date labels, date stamp etc. There are no mending or covering materials and no library ownership stamp.
ICT facilities and equipment A PC has been recently installed with the Library Management System, Junior Librarian. This system is the junior version of the one we are using at the Senior School. There is a barcode scanner and the ability to connect to a printer in the computer room next door. Stock There was not enough time during the visit to do a full shelf count and, as the book stock has not been catalogued, there is no accurate figure. AR estimates an approximate figure of 1500-2000. The stock has been acquired by means of a number of strategies: mainly from donations and the commission from book clubs and book fairs. DE has tried to balance the stock as much as possible, although this has been difficult to do without a budget to allow planned purchasing. DE also consults with teaching staff and pupils to ensure that the stock reflects their needs, within these constraints. Without a detailed analysis it is not possible to discuss the exact balance of stock, but it is clear that the methods of acquisition would not allow a wide-ranging support for the curriculum. There are books for all age ranges – from Nursery to Year 5. Sets of encyclopaedias are dated and are little used. There are further collections of books situated in classrooms – these do not belong to the library as such, but could be incorporated if the school wishes. Some of the stock appears to be in a reasonable condition, but, as it has never had a comprehensive weed, there is likely to be a considerable amount that has dated information and is damaged or “tired”. DE plans to begin weeding the stock to remove any non-fiction over ten years old and anything damaged or worn. AR will help with this as soon as possible. Staffing The library is currently managed four days each week by a teacher, Mrs Debra Enston, using time during break and lunch. She has organised a range of activities in school such as competitions, book clubs and book fairs to raise the profile of reading, books and the library. There is an enthusiastic group of Year 5 pupil library helpers. The PTA has offered volunteer help to support the development of the library. Use of the Library The library is open at lunchtimes and is very popular with pupils. During the Summer Term, with the plans to upgrade to the Library Management System, the library has been closed at lunchtimes. Instead, each class has been timetabled into the library for one lesson each week to read and choose books. This has been very successful. Use of Library resources Library resources are mainly used by individual students for reading and to a lesser extent to support homework. Some are borrowed by teachers for classroom use.
Books have been issued to date using a card system. This does not allow the collection of statistics to see long term borrowing trends. Recommendations 1. That AR should spend one day per week at the Junior School Library, starting as soon as possible, to support the development and use of the library. This would obviously have implications going forward, in terms of cover for AR at the Senior School. 2. That AR should spend most of the Summer Holidays at the Junior School to catalogue the stock and prepare the new Library Management System. 3. That up to £5000 of the 2010-2011 underspent Senior School Library Development Budget be used to purchase new stock, stationery, equipment and furniture for the Junior School Library. 4. That approximately £1400 of the 2010-2011 underspent Senior School Library Development Budget is carried forward to April 2012 to subscribe to the Leicestershire LSE (the Schools Library Service) on behalf of the Junior School to enable the library to support the curriculum and classroom teaching. This would cover the year from April 2012 until March 2013. 5. That the library at the Junior School should receive an annual budget for running costs to enable long-term planned development. This could start in September 2012. 6. That DE, if this is acceptable to her, be given time to enable her to manage the library and meet with AR for planning and other purposes, when necessary. 7. That the management of the school consider a full refurbishment of the Junior School Library in the future in terms of replacing the carpet, re-decorating and purchasing new and more suitable shelving, soft seating etc. Short-term plan 1. DE to begin weeding the existing stock to remove out-of-date, damaged and worn books. AR to continue this when possible. 2. Lists of the topics studied by each year group are available – DE to supply these to AR. AR and DE can then assess the stock to see gaps in provision in terms of curriculum support & extension, age levels, reading levels. 3. DE to ascertain the pupils’ and staff’s wish list of books. 4. Mend, cover and label the rest of the existing stock as necessary. 5. Use (to be agreed) amount of the library development budget to purchase new stock before the Summer Holidays. Visit to Peters by AR & DE? Other staff involved? 6. Some of the budget could be used to purchase a more ergonomic desk and office chair, more library stationery, plus some storage for stationery and equipment as necessary. 7. One of the cupboards on either side of the fireplace could be cleared out to store library stationery, equipment and books received and awaiting processing. There will also be a future need to have a place to store library teaching and management materials. 8. AR to set up Junior Librarian in accordance with wishes of the staff with pupil details etc. 9. AR to begin to catalogue & process new and existing stock on to Junior Librarian.
10. AR to teach the use of Junior Librarian for issuing & returning stock to DE, pupil library helpers and any other interested parties, such as parent volunteers. Also AR to demonstrate use of the search facility. 11. AR & DE to devise a plan for parent volunteers with specific tasks to enable them to support the library development going forward. 12. The notice boards which are partially covered by shelving could be moved to enable better displays. Long-term 1. Discussion with SMT concerning the future involvement of AR with the Junior School â€“ e.g. teaching Information Literacy skills using library stock and PCs, supporting reading development, supporting DE and parent volunteers with the running of the library. 2. Discussion with SMT about subscribing to LSE (the Schools Library Service â€“ see Recommendation 4 above) to enable a wider range of books to be borrowed for the library to support the curriculum, plus the other benefits for teaching staff which are available through this service. Anne M Robinson, MA, MA Librarian 25 May 2011