The SJL library is a real hub of the school. Competitions, reading challenges and library parties make literacy a key focus. Information skills are critical for independent learning and research, so the librarian runs classes to promote and develop these skills. The ethos is to provide both print and electronic resources together with a welcoming and calm environment to support reading for pleasure, homework and independent study.
The library is open from 8.40am – 5.00pm and is run by our librarian Miss James and the other members of our library team who provide a wide range of resources, information, activities and support for students in all year groups. We are also helped by our student librarians who run the issue desk at breaks and lunchtimes and by our parent volunteers.
The school has invested in the library, with a major refurbishment in summer 2014, including a new library system which includes e-book loans, reading lists, a subscription to quality controlled websites for schools and integrated (federated) searching of electronic resources.
The physical library
Books and DVDs
The library has a spacious area which holds 16,000 books. Fiction is organised in separate children’s/young adult and adult sections. Some is arranged by author and other stock by genre to encourage browsing. Spinners provide quick/easy reads.
Non-fiction or information books are bought to support the curriculum and to complement what is available electronically, often with the advantage of books being targeted at a particular key stage group. Non-fiction is arranged by subject, using the most well-known library system – Dewey.
DVDs based on books are bought together with factual DVDs to support the curriculum.
‘New books’ are displayed in the library and also on the catalogue home page. Students are encouraged to make suggestions of books that they would like us to buy.
Our newly refurbished library has study tables and chairs for independent and small group study. There is comfortable seating beside the newspapers, magazines, and other resources which are popular at break and lunchtimes, for example graphic novels.
The library has 39 computers, of which 30 are in the library computer room, together with 2 printers. This room is used for independent study, classes and homework club.
There is a quiet study room which also holds a range of careers books, leaflets and university prospectuses.
The library catalogue
The library catalogue - my portal and the library app
All resources are searched for on the library catalogue:
- through dedicated catalogue terminals in the library,
- on the desktop of all PCs in school,
- at home, through the school website,
- using an app, on a mobile or ipad.
The catalogue includes books, e-books, DVDs, websites, and access to search a range of electronic resources available on subscription.
The catalogue also has book reviews written by students and reading lists.
Students are given an individual login which corresponds to their library card. This gives access to their Portal and enables them to:
- Search the catalogue
- Check library loans
- Renew items
- Make a reservation for an item which is on loan
- Write a book review
- Read and borrow an e-book
This is the library app. Using the app, students can do the same things as through their portal, with the convenience of access through their mobile or ipad.
Borrowing books and DVDs
All students are given a library card when they join the school and set up their own portal on the library system. They can borrow four books and one DVD for two weeks by bringing them with their ticket to the counter. After two weeks they can then renew them if no one else wants them.
They may 'borrow' e-books to read online or download them to a range of personal devices.
Electronic books, journals and databases
Our collection of e-books includes some popular fiction authors as well as non-fiction. The system provides instructions for downloading books to ‘borrow’ using digital rights software for laptops, PCs and mobile devices.
The electronic journals and databases are particularly targeted at older students, but are available for all to use. SJL has a selection to cover the range of curriculum subjects. The literary reference centre is available to search as a combined (federated) search with our book stock and the other resources may be accessed from the library system home page.
- Complete Issues
- Geography in the news
- Issues Online
- Literary Reference Centre
- New Scientist Archive
- Newspaper database
- Philip Allan Journals
Challenges, competitions and activities
Challenges and competitions
There are a variety of challenges and competitions for students.
The BIG Challenge
Every other year we challenge you to try to read as many books as you can in one year. In 2012, 39 students, staff and governors completed our gold award by reading 52 books. Another 10 achieved bronze or silver.
Year 8 M25 Challenge
This is for Year 8 students. You go on a virtual journey around the M25. The idea is to read five books especially selected for YOU to encourage you to read a variety of different and challenging books. There are prizes at the end for those who finish the challenge and write good reviews.
Come back from your summer holiday with a photo of you reading in some ‘extreme’ situation. Don’t do anything really dangerous!
SJL did Readathon in 2011. It is a national sponsored read in aid of selected charities for sick children. SJL raised over £1,000..
Reading is a very popular pastime for SJL students and we have a number of Reading Groups.
Junior Reading Group for Years 7, 8 and 9
Meets every Tuesday in the Library.
In some meetings we do activities such as researching books and author sites and doing quizzes. In other meetings we read and discuss books.
Children's book awards
Senior Reading Group for Years 11, 12 and 13
Meets once a month in SF2 at 13.00 to discuss a title the group has chosen.
When is Homework Club open?
Homework Club is open every night after school, from 3.30-5.00pm. Just drop in; you do not need to book.
Where is Homework Club?
Homework club is in the library and resources centre.
Who will help me with my homework?
Our library assistant or our teaching assistant.
Do I have to do homework?
No, you do not have to do homework. You can come to read, chat or use the computers but we give priority in using computers to students who are doing homework.
Ideas for reading
Or try one of these sites: