Miss Adkins works in a comprehensive school (academy now) with about 1200 students, aged 11-18. We asked her a few questions.
|It's a rainbow cake inside!|
WSD: Your school library is not just about books - you have sewing machines and creatures and I think you even bake? What 'experience' do you hope/aim to create with your library?
Our school library is about pretty much everything! We encourage and celebrate learning in all of its forms. We read, write, sing, craft, everything. We do NaNoWriMo every year which is amazing fun and really pushes students to write in a format that isn't covered on the curriculum. We have craft clubs running both formally and casually every lunchtime (they're currently making 1000 paper cranes, so that they can have a wish!) and also host the school's Nerdfighter group and Project Rainbow, our gay/straight alliance. There is quite often cake. We have a tank of creatures and will soon be getting fish. They requested a monkey but we couldn't get the Head to agree to it. The library tiger, Hobbes, plays a central role too, acting as confidant, pillow and student hugger.
|Hello Tiger! Meet Hobbes.....|
There's a lot of emphasis on books and reading. All our students are encouraged to read as much as possible, but much more than that, they're encouraged to enjoy reading. There is no book snobbery here. If a student only wants to read graphic novels, I'll buy them more. Quick reads, web comics, ebooks, whatever form reading takes, it's reading. As important as developing reading is, I feel really strongly that it has to develop at its own pace. It is all too easy for teens to drop the habit of reading.
Above all things, I want the library to be the place that says yes to the 'Can I...?' questions that students bring to us. Yes, you can read all the books, make a film, do an animation, build a coffin out of cardboard boxes (it was hilarious!), do random acts of kindness, design a board game, write a novel.
WSD: You took your students to meet John Green.....
We met John Green! *happy dance*
Our readers and Nerdfighters are of course HUGE John Green fans, and as soon as we heard he'd signed with Penguin, I spoke to them about possible school visits and we were absolutely delighted to be invited along to the filming of the The Fault In Our Stars webcast. Many of our students had also gone along to some of the Nerdfighter gatherings, but they were able to get their books signed and give him the presents that they'd made, including cake and a mini-John made out of plasticine. It was an amazing day.
WSD: Any highly recommended reads for KS3 age readers?
I recommend ALL THE BOOKS! But especially anything off this year's Carnegie shortlist (Code Name Verity FTW!), The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, the Gone series by Michael Grant and the Amulet graphic novels which are amazing.
WSD: Good luck to Code Name Verity then. Anything else you're bursting to tell us?
The main thing I would tell anyone is how lucky I am. I am doing a job that I adore, in an excellent school where the library is well supported, with some of the best staff and students in the whole world. It doesn't get much better :D
Thank you Nicky for joining in. You're a marvel!
Here is her students' book blog.
Next in our Marvels series, we'll introduce you to Anne Thompson. She's A Library Lady and has been chatting away with us since about the time We Sat Down began.