Taradale Primary School have enjoyed their first whole-school loan. Read how they have coordinated, managed and displayed their loan.
Taradale Primary School in Napier has a very vibrant library at the heart of the school. We recently caught up with Library Manager, Sandi Faulconbridge, to see how they are managing the new loans from National Library.
Sandi, tell us a little bit about your school and what makes it unique or special...
We have a really strong culture of reading and literacy in our school and a very supportive community of parents who are right behind this. We run events like literacy and reading nights where the parents come and find out how to support their children’s reading. Last year we started a summer reading programme. We had 169 students participate in that and we issued nearly 2,000 books.
We have a diverse ethnic mix of children here with 15% Māori and 15% other international ethnicities including some students who have English as a second language (ESOL). It can be quite challenging finding reading material to cater to all of our students’ needs.
It’s an absolutely amazing hub of the school. Personally, I think it’s the best place to be. I get to see all the kids and the teachers. It’s just fantastic — I put new books on display each week and promote those to the students and teachers when they visit the library. Every Monday we have buddy reading after lunch where the senior students are matched with a junior and they read to the younger kids. In the nice weather, they sit and read to each other outside.
We hold a couple of book fairs each year. These include a Milo & Marshmallow night, where the children (and some parents) come in their PJ’s and a group of parents and teachers read to the kids. We also have a book week where all sorts of different literacy activities take place around the school, one of my favourite being that the staff get to read to different classrooms. This culminates in a dress-up day and is so much fun.
When classes come into the library, we involve the children in doing the issuing and returning of books. While they’re doing that, I can go out and talk to the other kids to suggest things they might like to read.
Previously under the old system, there were only a handful of our teachers using the service and the books went directly to those individuals and their classes. We hadn’t used the other services, like the facilitators and online tools, as much as we could.
We really wanted to see our school use the service more — it’s such a worthwhile service for all schools but even more so for smaller schools and rural schools that don’t have a well-stocked library. It’s not just the high-interest topics, but also exemplar and curriculum books and getting those into the hands of kids and teachers. Our budgets only allow us to provide a small percentage of what resources are available out there. The National Library lending service enables us to access resources, which we may not even have been aware of.
How did you coordinate and manage your first loan request?
I’m one of the 2 coordinators for our school, and we approached all the team leaders asking what topics they wanted to concentrate on for our first loan request.
For our term 1 loan, we ended up with 312 books — 123 inquiry books,188 reading engagement books, and 1 author/title request. They arrived in 10 boxes and I catalogued all the books into our Access-It library software programme. It was absolutely fantastic. All the books came in separate boxes and each box had its own consignment list. I did it box by box, scanning and importing all the books in each box into our catalogue, so I could keep the inquiry topic and reading engagement requests separated and ready for shelving.
What are the benefits of using our service?
I didn’t have to cover, label, put tape on the spines, or protect and stamp them like I would if they were new books bought for our library. A job that would usually take me a few weeks to do if I purchased them, took me 2.5 hours.
We get the use of the books and they are searchable through our system. I can also track who has got them out, which is especially useful if someone else needs to borrow them. The books should be easy to return when we need to send them back the National Library.
The other benefit of having them in our system is I can see how well the books are being used and see which ones I might need to promote more.
For our inquiry loan, we only used 5 of our 9 inquiry contexts and that was a learning curve for me because we got fewer books than if we had used all 9. However, we did get a really good selection. For our next loan, we will be using all 9 of those now that I know we can provide more options and get more books.
I wanted the inquiry books to be in the library so they were available to everyone in the school, but I didn’t want to put them on our usual shelves with the rest of our books where they might get lost.
I wanted our staff and students to know that these books came from another source, that our library isn’t the only place they can find reading and research material. I’ve set up a separate display area and have put picture book bins on their ends so they act like shelves and the books are easily visible.
I made labels for the inquiry loans so it’s easy for teachers to see the strand, year levels and topics. I didn’t intend the labels to restrict issuing to a particular year level, but rather to help teachers and students judge for themselves what’s available to use.
These books are being used mostly by students (rather than the teachers). We were entitled to 4 focus areas so we asked for:
- books to extend our older readers
- 2 lots of books for our Year 3–4 students to promote different reading formats and support struggling readers
- books to tempt our younger students (and, ‘oh my gosh’, there are some lovely picture books in there).
We’ve put the reading engagement books in the same area as the inquiry books, but on different shelves with different types of labels.
When classes come in, I talk to the teachers and students to make sure they are all aware of the books and encourage them to go over and take a look.
The feedback so far has been really good. The students love the fact they’ve got something different to read. The teachers who have used the inquiry loans have said they’re a really good idea, especially displayed and kept in topic or strand groupings, separate from the rest of the collection.
I’m really pleased with the books. Originally, I was a bit worried that they would be mostly old or not what we wanted. However, the majority have been new and books we hadn’t seen before.
Overall, we are really pleased with our loan.