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Budmouth College

Inspiration Award 2014: Judges' Citations

Budmouth College

Weymouth, Dorset

Principal: David Akers

http://www.budmouth.dorset.sch.uk/

Finalist in the Secondary School Category, 2014

This design is truly innovative in how it meets the quandary that is posed by a beautiful, new school where teaching and learning is centred, but situated at some distance from the original building, which houses its library.  The Librarian, Sylvia Knake and her leadership team led by Principal David Akers, set themselves the objective to inspire reading for pleasure and the way in which they have met their objective is an example to others.

The solution is the Hub Library located in the atrium of the new main building, it sits at the centre, establishing books and reading as key values held by the school.  It is the first thing visitors, students and staff can see as they enter and it is a popular feature on tours with prospective parents.  Judges have used the term ‘pop-up’ to characterise its innovation and energy because it is created from specially designed mobile bookcases of impressive quality, that are in the form of giant books, which can be closed and glided into new positions.

This library design is dedicated primarily to fiction with some regularly changing, popular non-fiction displays. All of the bookcases, seating and display trollies move through a range of configurations, within minutes, to suit the different demands of the day: quiet tutor group reading, English class visits, Sixth Form break-out groups and extra-curricular use made by students. At the end of the day all can be closed for safe-keeping which opens up the space for events.

Ofsted noted that the Library is at the heart of the school and clearly they saw how it contributes to the achievements made in English, which are above national average, encouraging students to develop strong literacy skills.  They also remarked on the quality of relationships between staff and students and this was much in evidence during our observations of the library and in discussions with students. There are also good relations with the local community evidenced by the library hosting visits from local primary school and nursery-aged children which involves some of the older students in providing story time sessions.

Teachers felt the Hub encourages spontaneous use because books are visible as students walk by, allowing staff to have informal chats with them about favourite stories.  This was felt to de-mystify the library, taking away any fears of it and thereby making it accessible to everyone. Lorraine Graves, Head of English, felt it had changed the culture of use amongst students not only was it more frequent but independent use was noticeably increasing. Hazel North, Literacy Co-ordinator observed that taking reading out of the classroom is liberating and though that is difficult to quantify, it has made reading a clear focus for everyone. The Hub Library design enters the Honour List for an innovation that has succeeded in bringing reading into the heart of the school.

Further information about the SLA School Library Inspiration Award.