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SLYA Citation for Robert Logan

ROBERT LOGAN

  • Upper School Librarian, Queen Elizabeth’s Community College, Crediton, Devon
    Nominated by Susan Williams, Head of English
Robert Logan being presented with his Honour Certificate by Philip Reeve. Photo: Martin Salter
Robert Logan being presented with his
Honour Certificate by Philip Reeve.
Photo: Martin Salter

The college is an all ability state community school, offering some boarding places, for c.1500 students who are drawn from a wide catchment area. It is a split site school with a library on each site (both of which were praised in the 2005 OFSTED report). Teaching staff move between the sites. The school is a High Performing Specialist School (HPSS) which the Head hopes will lead to it becoming a BSF pilot in Devon with the ultimate aim of a single site. Upper school is centred on the original 16th century site catering for Yrs 9-13.

Robert has a background in bookselling and was appointed to run the Upper School Library in 2000. When visited, due to staff sickness, he was running both libraries with the help of part time paid assistants and 2 teams of student librarians. Despite his lack of library qualifications the panel was impressed by Robert’s efforts to manage the library to a high professional standard, achieved through contact with the SLA, Devon SLS and his own networking contacts.
The library was once the school dining hall and radical change is constrained by listed building status. However Robert has transformed the area into a welcoming and well organised library, using his considerable artistic talents to good effect on posters, notices and shelf guides. Current stock levels are about 60% NF : 40% Fiction (total c.22,500). Stock revision is to be a main priority during the next year, using a generous bookfund shared between upper and lower school libraries. The library uses Eclipse LMS and students have access to an adjacent computer suite for personal study which supplements the 4 PCs in the library.

Robert has taken the theme of a jungle and used it in every aspect of the library, from the wonderful pictures of jungle animals high on the walls that he has painted to library handouts that students receive at key stages.

Information Literacy Skills are taught by adapting the familiar US Big 6 Steps to an Information Jungle and using analogies to jungle ecology from forest floor (NF and reference, the basic roots) to emergents (Fiction…to escape the information jungle). Yr 9 and 10 students have Information Learning Skills as part of their English timetable, building on work begun by the lower school librarian with potential Yr 6 entrants and emphasised in Yr 7. Robert has been frustrated that more time (outside of English time) is not available for this essential work, especially since the school has been developing a VLE for the past year.

Reader development is done using a series of imaginative approaches, including occasional author/poet visits. There are active book groups for various year groups and the staff, who welcome the cross faculty networking, the ‘peace’ of the library and the opportunity to choose to read books that they wouldn’t normally have. Last term the whole school read Frankenstein, with Robert providing lots of quizzes, competitions and fun activities to back this up. Contrary to national trends he finds his challenge is persuading the girls to read!
The panel saw Robert team teaching a Yr 9 class with an English teacher. The lesson focused on reading and using texts by means of an inspirational approach involving groups deducing clues and a map to solve a medieval mystery: needless to say Robert had produced the teaching materials. Both with this group and a Yr 8 class reading activity Robert showed his instinctive teaching skills and natural rapport with the students using humour, knowledge and mutual respect to draw out the best response.

Although Robert’s nomination came from the English Dept all the staff and students that the panel talked to were keen to describe the difference he makes to the school, both in a class situation and to individuals, and really appreciated his unique brand of enthusiasm and imaginative approach made possible with good humour and boundless energy.