17 February 2021 Share
Honour Librarian: Terri McCargar
Terri McCargar is the Head Librarian at Latymer Upper School, a co-educational, independent day school with over 1300 students, in West London.
The library at Latymer Upper is a large, open-plan space on the ground floor of the school’s Science building. It features over 13,000 books and print resources in addition to a digital collection of eBooks, audiobooks and 40 online subscription databases. The library is open from 7.30am to 6pm during term time and is staffed by two full-time, professionally qualified librarians, a part-time library assistant and a full-time graduate trainee library assistant. There are also pupil library helpers whose primary role is to bring more student voice to the Library’s collection and service, particularly with peer recommendation and help with planning Library displays and events.
Terri came to librarianship after 10 years working as an editor in educational and children’s publishing following a degree in English. She gained her MA LIS from UCL and initially worked as a children’s librarian in public libraries before moving into school librarianship, where she gained her chartership. Having had the benefit of a wonderful mentor herself, providing support for future school librarians is something of particular importance to Terri; recently she was able to develop a graduate traineeship scheme within her own school library.
The library is run as a silent space for Sixth Form private study during lessons; it is more informal during break times and before and after school, when all students are welcome. Terri teaches three Library lessons each to seven Year 7 sets and regularly teaches Information Literacy lessons within the context of specific school departments. In pre-Covid times the library would normally host at least three author visits a year, a number of different book clubs, teams for book quizzes such as the Kids’ Lit Quiz, school internal competitions such as the Staff vs. Students Harry Potter Quiz and also the promotion of external writing competitions such as the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition. The Trinity Schools Book Award is a key focus each year. In addition to activities focussed on reading and discussing the shortlisted books, students are encouraged to enter a Creative Response to the books and this can take any format, whether in writing, art or music.
A striking feature of Terri’s work is the emphasis she places on the library’s relationship with the rest of the school. It is clear she works extremely hard on building relationships with staff in all departments. For example, a recent project saw Terri develop a series of library guides for staff in each department to highlight where they can find resources for their subject in the Library and online. These were tucked inside a specially chosen Library book from their taught subject which was wrapped up as a gift for them during an INSED coffee break. The fact that many staff choose to come to the Library to work or read is a testament to the cross-school links Terri has built, something she further nurtures by playing an active role in the wider school life by taking part in Red Nose Day events, the school panto or school trips abroad.
You can get a further flavour of Terri’s work by following @Latymer_library on Twitter.