The Bishop’s library is a vibrant and busy hub, with an excellent selection of curriculum and recreational resources to support all students.
The school library is staffed by qualified librarians whose aim is to provide a comprehensive selection of resources to support the National Curriculum, together with a wide range of stimulating reading material for both home and school use, and also to promote reading amongst young people for information, study and recreation.
The library’s book stock is designed to cater for the whole range of abilities found within the school, from reluctant readers to gifted and talented pupils. The Senior Librarian is responsible for maintaining a rich collection of fiction and non-fiction resources which support the entire school, this is undertaken in collaboration with library staff, faculty heads and teaching staff. Fiction recommendations and suggestions are particularly welcomed from students.
Computers with access to the school intranet and the internet are available in the library for research, homework and class work. These may also be used to access the library catalogue which enables pupils to locate resources independently.
There is a dedicated section for Sixth Form which houses a wide variety of resources to support their learning. The library subscribes to several Philip Allan Review Magazines including: Biological Sciences Review, Geography Review, Law Review, Politics Review, Psychology Review and Sociology Review. Furthermore, we hold print issues of eMagazine for A-level English students, Media Magazine for A-Level Media students and BBC History Revealed for A-level History students.
The library also houses careers information, plus a collection of prospectuses for local further education colleges and national universities.
Students and staff can now search the Bishop’s Library Catalogue from any device from our exciting new Web App HERE. This allows you to also reserve books, write book reviews, create your own reading lists and keep up-to-date with library news.
Please watch the How to Use Accessit tutorial to learn how to use the catalogue effectively.
In addition, we also have over 1,200 eBooks available through our eBook catalogue HERE (please email the librarians for your login details).
In year 7, there is a structured programme of library lessons during which pupils are taught effective and confident use of the library’s resources and the internet, together with basic research and study skills. They also participate in a wider reading project which encourages reading both for pleasure and for information. In year 8, the girls continue to have one lesson a week in the library to encourage and maintain the reading habit and to broaden their horizons in terms of their choice of literature.
The library hosts YA fiction author visits throughout the year. These events are always well received and lively, with the author talking to pupils about their inspiration, the writing and publishing process and their work. These visits inspire the girls and serve to generate a love of books and reading for pleasure. Past author visits have included Matt Dickinson. Penny Joelson, Susin Nielsen, Holly Smale, Sarah Crossan, Katherine Webber and Tamsyn Murray.
The library is proud to be a member of the St Albans Schools Book Award and each year collaborates with other local school librarians in selecting a shortlist of young adult fiction aimed at year 7 and 8 readers. The shortlist of three books are then read in book club and pupils are invited to get involved with activities around the event, including designing a bookmark for one of the titles, writing a review, designing a logo (the winning design was created by a Bishop’s girl!), creating a movie poster based on one of the book titles etc. The culmination is a visit to St Columbas College in St Albans where the participating students meet other schools to take part in a day featuring discussion panels around the books, quizzes, an author visit and the chance to vote for the overall winner.
We have also been fortunate, for the past two years, to be chosen as a judging panel for the Young People’s Prize, run by the Royal Society, which aims to promote pupils’ literacy and inspire them to read about science. This allows students to vote for the winning STEM book for under-14s.
The library also plays host to a very popular Scholastic Book Fair each spring, where students are encouraged to browse and buy from a selection of newly published children’s and young adult fiction.
Throughout the year the library regular runs reading challenges and competitions for which students are awarded House Points, these aim to motivate and inspire participation in library events. World Book Day is always celebrated with week-long activities taking place, these have included literary potato characters, treasure hunts, book in a jar, bookmark designing as well as various games, quizzes and activities.
Bishop’s students are encouraged to take part in shadowing various national book awards including the Carnegie and Children’s Book Awards (CBA). We are also a testing centre for the CBA so there is a constant supply of newly published fiction to read and vote on throughout the year before the shortlisted titles are announced. In addition, lunchtime book clubs are run for Year 7 (Chatterbooks) and Year 8 (Bishop’s Books) in which students share their love of books and reading in a supportive and inclusive environment. The emphasis of these clubs is on having fun and developing a joy of reading and students participate in games, activities and book-related crafts as well as having the opportunity to shadow the local St Albans Schools Book Award and take part in the international Kids’ Lit Quiz.
In addition, a weekly lunchtime Games Club enables students to come along and play a variety of board and card games on offer (Chess, Dobble, Triominos, Scrabble, Jenga etc), This is well attended by students across all year groups and often leads to an enjoyable and animated lunchtime!
The library is open daily from 8 am until 4.30 pm, during which time the librarians are available to provide advice and guidance to students. The library provides a quiet place where girls can do their homework after school with all the support and resources they may need for their studies.