Stromness Academy Library

Books, reading and life in a school library

A week in the Life of A School Library


In the run up to the end of term, things get fairly frenetic in the school and in the library as work such as folios and dissertations to be submitted for the qualifications are in the final stages of being produced.  Computers are available in the library and S5 pupils who have study in the library use them on a regular basis. They are available to S6 pupils, but uptake is maybe not so good – remember folks, they are there for you to use. If a class hasn’t got them booked, they are available!

It must be emphasised, that although the library is a busy active place at lunchtimes, space for work is available in the Upper Library (let the librarian, Mrs S, know you want to use it) and, most importantly, if pupils need a computer for work at this time – they will get a computer if available. School work ALWAYS gets priority over the leisure use.

Monday started off quiet with a couple of English classes in for library period (book exchange and reading) and a bit of computer use. An S2 PSE class was also in using the Upper Library, careers section and laptops to research Career and subject choice. Most of the work is moving to online, using My World of Work and pupils should now be registered on this site which is used both by the school and Skills Development Scotland for careers work. Pupils, though have been advised, as in the case of any research, to have a look at different sources of information and not to rely on just the one. There are further links to Careers information and other subject related links on the LibLinks section of the Blog.

Lunchtime on Monday saw a depleted miniature painting club, however, this would have been in part to the library consultation with lunchtime users, led by the Head Teacher, which took place in the library. We were looking at: What does a school library do? What does ours do well? How could we improve it?

It has to be noted that the miniature painting competition has been extended until after the Easter holidays. The trophy donated by porfessional mini painter, Michael Mordor, has now arrived in the school. Michael will also be judging this competition (via photographs of completed minis).

Tuesday was as busy as it has been for a few weeks, although only 6 periods out of the 7 were booked by classes this time. Chess club also ran at lunchtime.

Adavanced Higher PE have a regular booking for computers in the morning. S3 English came in for a library period which also included giving them a chance to work on computers to get on with folios. Another PSE class used the Upper Library. In the afternoon S4 RME were in looking at the moral issues surrounding abortion. Library PCs and laptops were used, as well as some book resources. There was productive discussion around this controversial issue.

The highlight of the day was another ‘innovative’ lesson (Last week it was Mrs Hunter’s class) where Miss Grieve’s 4R English used the library to work on their board games they had devised to help them remember quotations from Macbeth. Some pupils also worked on their folio pieces.






The after-school D&D group met as usual where the adventuring party have returned to The Sunless Citadel. This time one of the PCs entered a room without properly checking it and was subsequently set upon by giant rats – which they all dispatched fairly quickly. They just now need to search for the possible treasure.

It should be noted that computers, and the Upper Library are also available for study, research, and homework on Tuesdays after school, and Mrs Thomson is available for giving support in your studies.

Wednesday morning proved busy with two S4 English classes in period 1. One to use the computers for folio work or to do revision (periods 1 & 2), the other for [part of] a library period.  1R came in for a library period. Most read and a handful did book quizzes on the computer. The final S2 PSE class of the term came in in the afternoon to finish off their work on careers and subject choice.

Thursday was a tad quieter, but felt no less busy due to the amount of library admin work, which has been ongoing all week – the shelving, shelf tidying, and the processing, classification & cataloguing of new stock, and book covering. The processing had been helped in part by an S3 pupil, on Wednesday morning as he glued the date labels into a pile of new books.

The Auxiliaries were shown how to use ALICE, the Library Management System to issue and return books. This will mean that if the Librarian, is off ill, away on courses or school trips, some semblance of a library service can still be offered.

Lunchtime saw the weekly Luncheon & Dragons group play a short game. Mrs S continues to lead the players through an underground complex as they try to find the Forge of Fury for treasures untold. This week they managed to dispatch two nasty Orcs and found a couple of prisoners, whom they still need to rescue.

In the afternoon, Mrs S headed to The Orkney Library & Archive in Kirkwall to have a meeting with Principal Librarian and the Children’s Librarian. This allows for professional liaison as well as the Orkney Library acting as a school’s library service, when we need to boost our stock, in particular for the major research projects, for instance in Geography and History.

Friday started in a relaxed manner with 2T English coming in for a library period. There was a brief discussion with a History/RME teacher about upcoming requirements. Later we are expecting an RME class in who are also researching abortion in terms of ‘pro-life’ / ‘pro-choice’. The day will finish up with the weekly activities session where 20 pupils play Role Playing Games. A small group plays Magic the Gathering, but the majority, split into 3 groups play Dungeons & Dragons. D&D continues to prove very popular, and albeit a leisure activity, many elements link to a number of Curriculum for Excellence outcomes across Literacy, Numeracy, and Health & Wellbeing. More info here (also tells you about the game and what is involved).

In the morning, before classes started, we had an unusual sight – S1 pupils asked if they could do some filming for History – something to do with Scottish King, Alexander III and succession. The next thing I saw were crowns and cloaks coming out. The ensuing photograph, though was a bit blurry.

Thus, a long week, made longer by thinking Wednesday was Thursday, is nearly over. Mrs S uses usually uses Friday to have a general tidy up, including some shelves, getting some shelving done, or writing a blog post. There are some books needing checked on the catalogue, but they can wait until next week. Shelving and shelf tidying here we come, in preparation for a stock take during the Easter Holidays.

Have a good weekend, and remember the clocks go forward early Sunday morning!

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