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SLYA Citation for Nancy Anstee

NANCY ANSTEE

  • Waycroft Primary School, Stockwood, Bristol
    Nominated by Dianne Southcombe, Manager, Bristol School Library Service
Nancy Anstee being presented with her Honour Certificate by SLA President Aidan Chambers
Nancy Anstee being presented with her
Honour Certificate by SLA President Aidan Chambers

Nancy took up her post at Waycroft three years ago, bringing with her the experience of working in the library of a challenging secondary school where she had little support or encouragement. By contrast, at Waycroft Nancy shows what can be achieved when enthusiasm and vision are combined with strong support, with a headteacher keen to implement the good practice he had encountered on a visit to the United States.

Initially Nancy closed the library for half a term – it was little used anyway – and created a colourful, cheerful and attractive space and filled it with replacement furniture and new stock, introduced CD-Roms and PC’s and installed a library management system. She wrote to many authors requesting words of wisdom and encouragement from them, which now adorn the walls, and ran a competition for a library logo. The boys who won the competition had a much-publicised trip in a stretch limo as a prize on the day the library was re-opened, and their winning creation, Mr Readmore, is to be found all over the library. With a bright new book stock interestingly arranged, and shelves bursting with dazzling displays and artefacts to entice exploring minds, a library that was previously thought of as ‘boring’ is now a magnet for schoolchildren.

Nancy provides newsletters which go to parents and has mums into the library to support reading. All classes have library lessons every two weeks and when Nancy recently advertised for library helpers she had 45 applicants, all of whom were taken on, given training and expected to show commitment to at least half a term in the library. Greenaway shadowing sessions are held with Key Stage 1 groups, and author visits provide further stimulus and encouragement to readers. Lunchtimes and class sessions are busy with children confidently using and sharing books and equipment or listening to Nancy reading stories.

From the beginning, Nancy made her mark on the library, showing great initiative, vision and drive to bring about drastic changes, not only in the appearance of the library but in its role within the school. She is absolutely dedicated to raising standards and has permeated all aspects of school life. Nancy remains the only primary school librarian in Bristol and as such is a beacon of good practice for the whole authority.

The school is very conscious that without Nancy standards would slip back. The difference now is that high expectations have been realised – thanks to Nancy. Nancy is a gem, and Waycroft School knows it.