The Grimsdell Library | Independent School, London | Mill Hill School

Library

The Grimsdell Children’s Library is at the literal and metaphorical heart of the school and plays a pivotal role in the school’s teaching and learning processes; providing a focal point for reader and literacy development.

This vibrant, welcoming and relaxing space has a key role in promoting wider reading and developing a child’s love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The Librarian works closely with the English department to support the school’s commitment to reading for pleasure and in the development of reading comprehension skills.

To foster a love of reading, every child has a timetabled weekly library session where they are encouraged to develop a passion for the written word and are exposed to a variety of genres and wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, as well as access to weekly newspapers and magazines. The library stock is constantly evolving and changing to ensure that we meet all recreational reading tastes and can support the various topics being taught as part of the curriculum.  In addition, children are taught library information skills, enabling them to navigate independently around a library and to assist in the development of independent research and information literacy skills. Our aim is to create motivated readers and learners for life.

Children have open access to the library and can change their books on a daily basis if they so wish. The Library has a dedicated teacher librarian, Mrs Harvey, who guides and supports each child in their love of books and reading. Year 2 pupils have the opportunity to become Junior Librarians, becoming part of a team to help with the smooth running of the library. Junior Librarians learn how to catalogue and issue books, operate the library computing system and to take responsibility for the effective management of the Outdoor Library. They have a crucial role in assisting their peers and younger children to find appropriate books and lead the Nursery Buddy Reading Programme. The position enables children to develop their teamwork and leadership skills. Their role in choosing the Book of the Week, organising library displays and their weekly contribution to the school newsletter ensures that the library is a child-centred environment.

Across the year, the Library is responsible for a range of extra-curricular activities to promote reading for pleasure, such as National Poetry Day in October, National Non-Fiction November, Reading Week in March (to coincide with World Book Day) plus we take part in the annual Kate Greenaway Awards Shadowing scheme and consider the most outstanding book for children in terms of illustration. We have regular author visits, arrange drama based storytelling workshops and theatre productions. The library operates a Children’s Book Club which meets on Thursdays. Here, we share a story and then this story is used as a spring board around which activities are centred, for example,  after reading and exploring the book ‘How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea’ by Kate Hosford, we had a busy session baking some scones – perfect for an afternoon tea!