Stromness Academy Library

Books, reading and life in a school library

October 3, 2019
by Mrs Sinclair

Poetry Picnic for National Poetry Day

Our annual Poetry Picnic is now in its 16th consecutive year, with this being actually the 17th year of running an event to celebrate poetry and National Poetry Day. Back in 2004 the theme was ‘Food’ and the Poetry Picnic was born and in the intervening years has attracted pupils and some staff into the library to partake of snacks, their lunch, and share poetry, whether it is favourite poets or poems, or reading poems from books, or from memory.



This year a small group of regular library users and handful of staff popped by. Poems were read out from the poetry postcards which also were celebrating the UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages with poems in Manx, Cornish, Welsh, Scots, and Gaelic including the English translation. Some pupils very quickly wrote their own poems and shared them, as well as a selection from some of the poetry books selected from the shelves.


October 3, 2019
by Mrs Sinclair

Book Fair

Between 23rd and 27th September, the library held a book fair. This was the first fair for a number of years, but the thirteenth we have had since our first one way back in 1997.

A book fair can be a good way to promote reading for pleasure, encouraging pupil choice from a selection of teen / young adult fiction (some non-fiction too). It can also be beneficial to promoting the library, maybe drawing in pupils and staff who maybe otherwise wouldn’t visit, as well as, if commission threshold met, gaining new stock for the school library. This time we did meet the threshold of £300, which is actually a lot for a school with a small roll like ours. Pupils were given free rein to select books for the library up to a value of around £80 and we now have a nice selection of 11 new books to add to library stock in due course.

A book fair can also support Reading outcomes and benchmarks in literacy, in particular:

and choice

within a motivating and challenging environment developing an awareness of
the relevance
of texts in my life

 I regularly select and read, listen to or watch texts for enjoyment and interest, and
I can express how well
they meet my needs and expectations and give reasons, with evidence,
for my personal response.
 I can identify sources
to develop the range
of my reading.
LIT 3-11a
Selects texts regularly for enjoyment and interest or relevant sources to inform thinking.

Gives a personal response to texts with appropriate justification.

Explains how well a text or source meets needs and expectations
with appropriate justification.



September 26, 2019
by Mrs Sinclair

A Brief Note on Internet Searching & Orkney Library Online

Searching for information online can be very hit or miss, particularly if you aren’t being careful about your search terms. People tend to open the top few links in search results. Did you know that often the results listed at the top of a search are sponsored links? This means the company whose website is linked as paid for their site to be high up on the results list. This does not mean the ‘top’ results are necessarily the most relevant. Scroll down to avoid these sponsored links. Always check following pages of results, don’t rely on the first page.

If the teacher or librarian gives you a URL (website address) or link for a specific topic, use it – don’t just decide to go off and search for information on the topic yourself. There is always a good reason you have been given the link – mainly because it is relevant, and more importantly, appropriate to the topic you are being asked to research.

Use the LibLinks page of the Library blog – there are many Subject Links to relevant LiveBinders on topics you may come across in your studies as well as useful study, careers, and reference resources links.

Orkney Library & Archive Online

Orkney Library also provide some useful reference resources and are well worth a look, particularly the Oxford Reference group of resources to which you will need an Orkney Library membership.

You can also search the Orkney Library catalogue online, so if there are any books that we don’t have in the school library, you can check their catalogue. You can go in yourself, or arrange for Mrs Sinclair to borrow them for the school library, then you can take them out on your school library card. There is access to a wide range of non-fiction which may be useful for your studies and projects.

Senior pupils or staff requiring more specialist resources can use the Inter Library Loan service, although please be aware there is a charge for this. Again, you can arrange this via Mrs Sinclair in the School Library or go to the Orkney library yourself. Please ensure you read the Inter Library Loans page including the Acceptable Use Policy before requesting one.

September 23, 2019
by Mrs Sinclair

Book Fair

The Book Fair arrived in school last week and was set up on Friday afternoon with the pupil help. There is a selection of fiction and some non-fiction aimed at teens, as well as a box of stationery (inc. novelty pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.

The fair will run all week in the school library. Cash is accepted and there are facilities available for phone (cashless) payments via a secure phone number. Details are available at the fair.

Alongside this, there is a book cover competition – pupils can design a new book cover for a favourite book. First prize is £15 worth of vouchers to spend at the fair. Two runners up will each receive a £5 voucher. Entry forms can be collected from the school library or downloaded here: Create your own book cover. Digital art can also be accepted.



September 12, 2019
by Mrs Sinclair

Classic Children’s Literature

New Books

We have recently taken delivery of a very pretty collection of classic children’s books, ranging from Alcott, through to Dickens, Hodgson Burnett, Jack London, and Frank L. Baum. Most of them have quizzes on the Accelerated Reader scheme, especially at the mid to upper levels (ZPD 6 – 8). These are now on display and available for borrowing.

The next batch of books in waiting is another collection, described as ‘Gothic classics’ with the likes of Austen, Doyle, Stoker, Bronte, Wells, and Shelley featuring.

We also have a small selection of books chosen by pupils and staff.

Please be patient as it does take time to process books ready for borrowing, starting off with matching them to the orders, labelling (barcode, date label, spine label, AR label), ownership stamping, AR tagging to show ZPD levels, interest level, and points value, cataloguing and covering. Some of the basic labelling and stamping is sometimes undertaken by the small team of pupil library assistants.

If you have spotted anything in the photographs above, or see them when Mrs Sinclair is processing them, let her know and the book(s) can be reserved for you when they are ready.


Coming Soon

Book Fair

23rd – 27th September

Pre-purchased vouchers (discounted) available at: 

September 3, 2019
by Mrs Sinclair

BOOK FAIR 23rd – 27th September 2019

We had our first book fair back in 1997 and the one later this month will be our 13th fair, the last one having taken place in 2011. Over the years there has been mixed success in terms of reaching the commission threshold, however, as nice as it is to get fee brand new books for the school library, the benefits of exposing pupils to a selection of new books from which they can purchase outweigh this. Not everyone can make it to a bookshop, and as much as I advocate visiting our excellent local bookshops and, of course, taking advantage of the Orkney Library & Archive, bringing new books to the frontline, ie. the school, hopefully means that more young folk can have the joys of browsing a selection of books – aimed at secondary pupils.

Our book fair is just under three weeks away, running 23rd to 27th September in the library. It has been a fair few years since we last had one and it is hoped that we can make this one a success, so much so, that we can earn commission for us to be able to purchase more books, which pupils can choose, for the school library.  The target for this commission is £300 and although it seems a lot, it should be doable looking at some of the results of past fairs.

Gift vouchers can also be purchased in advance from: – good value saving 20% (eg. £10 voucher will give a £12 spend at the fair).

August 27, 2019
by Mrs Sinclair

New Term, New Books

Session 2019-20 has now started and we are now a week into the Autumn term. The local shows are over and comments are made in relation to it [suddenly] feeling autumnal, despite the fact the last few days appear to have brought some decidedly summer weather. Either way, what better time to get into a good book, than popping along to the school library and seeing what we have. Books on any of the displays can also be borrowed – they are not just there for show. Please look at them, read them, borrow them.

We also have a great selection of new books currently being processed (getting them ready for the shelves – labelling, covering, classifying, cataloguing). This does take some time so please be patient, but here is a glimpse of what we have – a couple of boxes of classics which will provide some more of the mid to higher Accelerated Reader levels, as well as a small selection suggested by pupils and staff last term. If you see Mrs Sinclair working on anything you would like to read, let her know and she’ll take your name and reserve it for you to borrow when it is ready.






Information about borrowing books can be found here. All books should be taken to Mrs Sinclair (or a pupil library assistant) at the issue desk to be properly stamped out. Please don’t take any books or other resources if no-one is available. Wait a few minutes, or come back later.

Over the summer, the library shelves were tidied and it is important, that during your use of the library you help maintain the tidy shelves by being careful when removing or replacing books on them. Information about care of books can be found here. With lessening budgets, it is important library and all school resources are looked after with care and respect for them. Damaged or lost books, however, will have to be replaced or paid for – so do look after them when you take them home.

Further information about the library – Please familiarise yourself with these

Library Guide

Behaviour Expectations

Out-of-school-hours (Before registration, lunchtime and after school activities)

The Documents section has a lot of information and guides about the library and other aspects of its use, like Computer resources, finding books and using the catalogue, as well as info on study and research skills.

June 27, 2019
by Mrs Sinclair

Book Fair – Coming next term

Note the date!

23rd – 27th September 2019

Book Fair

It has been quite some time since we last ran a book fair in the library. To support literacy and reading for pleasure in the school, a table-top book fair has been booked for the week beginning 23rd September 2019.

There will be a selection of teen / young adult books suitable for secondary school pupils available for sale. Pupils can pay by cash or there will be facilities for cashless payment and gift vouchers can be purchased prior to the event. These vouchers can be exchanged for books at the fair and are good value, for instance, purchasing a £10 voucher allows a £12 spend.

May 22, 2019
by Mrs Sinclair

Primary 7 Transition in the Library

Primary 7 pupils, who will be joining us in August as our new S1s, are in school this week to experience three days at the Academy. This involves tour of the school led by older pupils, activities, and being on timetable in the subjects they will do from August.

During their English lessons today, they were introduced to the Accelerated Reader scheme which the English department run, and did their initial reading test. They then came to the library to have a look at the resources and borrow a book if they wanted one.

Mrs Sinclair, the Librarian managed to do a quick introduction to the library and its various activities to most groups, although timing was short. Pupils were told that they could borrow a book and it was emphasised that they needed to take care of them, being informed that, as is policy here, books borrowed that are lost or damaged would have to be replaced or paid for. They are expected to return the books borrowed today during the first week in August, when they start the academy properly. Some of the pupils also availed themselves of the free (older) books on offer taking them home to read or give to siblings.

It has to be said, that the short transition activity in the library would not have been possible or run as easily without the help of five pupil library assistants, all S1, and the S4 pupil who stayed on after an exam specifically to help. We also had another last minute volunteer, also in first year who joined in and helped. These pupils helped the P7s fill out the issue slips for borrowing books, directed them and helped them find books, as well as handing out the AR bookmarks from the English Department. The S4 pupil manned the issue desk, ensuring books (and issue slips) were stamped. Thank you – all your help was much appreciated.

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