Guest blog by Rachel Whitty, School Librarian.
I’m delighted to be taking over Nottingham Girls’ High School’s two busy libraries, and I am particularly looking forward to working with girls from such a variety of ages, from the youngest ones through to the Sixth Form.
At a time when libraries in general, and school libraries in particular are under threat, it’s truly encouraging to find a school that still values the role of a professional librarian in post. Nottingham Girls’ High School has a strong tradition of reading. Whilst looking through the archives recently I found details of a Reading Club in the school magazine dating from 1884. The book choices were somewhat challenging, including amongst their titles, ‘The Life of Charles Kingsley’, ‘North and South’ and ambitiously, Dante’s ‘Inferno’. I’m not sure what the response would be if I suggested these for my current reading group!
Surprisingly, the Girls’ Library, as it was called, didn’t exist until the summer term of 1887 with the first instalment being a ‘set of Mrs Ewing’s works from the Head Mistress.’ Run on a subscription basis, by 1894 the library had 116 members and consisted of 367 books. Today we have two libraries, 41,200 books and 1,577 borrowers. We have three reading groups ongoing in school and a warm, inviting library which is used in a variety of ways all day long. I’m personally excited about getting involved in the Staff Book Club with a meeting due after half term. We have chosen ‘My Grandmother sends her Regards and Apologies’ by Fredrik Backman, and I can’t wait to hear the staff thoughts on this.
I feel lucky to have joined Nottingham Girls’ High School at an exciting time with the Vote 100 Day approaching and World Book Day not far behind. We are dedicating a whole week to World Book Day this year in the Junior School, with a variety of activities planned and plenty of opportunities to share stories and enjoy books together. We are also looking forward to welcoming visiting authors throughout the year, including local author, Paula Rawsthorne next month. Paula has visited us before and we know she is popular with the girls. She will be promoting her new book ‘Shell’ which is a modern retelling of the Frankenstein story.
There is clearly much happening in the coming months and I am looking forward to the challenge!