“The moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better.” – Barack Obama

Head of Department: Aly Thornton

Are Libraries Extinct?

The biggest crusade in the book world today is directed at saving libraries. In an increasingly digital world, it is not surprising that some people question the relevance of a school library containing ‘real books’.

At Windlesham we believe that ‘real books’ have a crucial role to play in helping children to learn to read and to develop a love of reading and, whilst welcoming the advent of Kindles, especially for reluctant readers, we think they should be used in conjunction with real books and not instead of them. Typically, a child who boards will keep their Kindle in dorms to read at night and have a real book in their box to read during the day.

One of the problems we face in persuading children to read more is finding the right book for a particular child. Again, having a library full of real books with the visual appeal of brightly coloured covers and the chance to handle and read a few pages before deciding if this is THE ONE, dramatically helps the decision process.  Most book lovers agree that the feel of real books is part of the reading experience which a Kindle just cannot replicate.

Our Library software is right up to date – children can borrow and return books on their own, whenever they want, and can log into the system anywhere in the school (or at home) to see if a title is available, write a review or discover the current most popular books. We generate excitement in the Library via ever-changing displays linking in to current events, highlighting authors or developing themes; a constant stream of brand new reading material (the best of current fiction and non-fiction, biographies, graphic novels, picture books, newspapers, periodicals and comics) and a flood of reading initiatives – Book Clubs in Break, Poetry Picnics in the summer, Threes Summer Reading Challenge, the National Literacy Trust’s Bookbuzz for the Twos, shadowing the Carnegie Medal in the Ones, World Book Day, Roald Dahl Day, Music in the Library….the list goes on and on and we welcome new ideas and inspiration from the children.

The Library also supports the teaching staff and the curriculum with a wealth of current and accessible reference and non-fiction titles, periodicals, and carefully selected websites. We aim to help children to develop their research, information-handling and study skills and to promote independent learning before they move on to their Senior Schools.

Recent research by Oxford University Press has shown that children reading outside the classroom are 13 times more likely to read above their expected reading age – as little as ten minutes a day can make a significant difference to their academic attainment.

With a welcoming, well-stocked library at the heart of the school, open all day, children have access to books at all times – and this is how it should be…

“What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it feels about education.” – Harold Howe