Open from 8am – 4pm every day
Librarians: Ms. McAuslan and Ms. De Guia
The Library at HNS currently has 3700 fiction and non-fiction books housed in a light airy room on the third floor of the main Canal Building. The library is managed by two librarians with the support of a rota of Year 7 student librarians.
In keeping with the school’s core beliefs of academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, responsibility and self-belief, the library provides students and staff with a wide range of educational and recreational books and magazines designed to support the needs of all users, from ‘quick reads’ – that is, shorter simpler books aimed at teenagers – through to classics in beautiful hardback editions which students are encouraged to tackle to challenge themselves. The primary focus of the library is to foster a love of reading for pleasure within every student.
Years 7-9 have a library lesson in the library every week in which they are encouraged to browse the shelves, choose books of interest and enjoy some unfettered reading time. A librarian is on hand throughout, to guide reading choices, make recommendations and, at the end of the period, lead a short literary appreciation discussion.
There is an online catalogue (the Web OPAC) accessible from any computer within school. Students and staff can search for books and websites by title, author, subject or keyword. The catalogue homepage is regularly updated with news items, such as Author of the Week, book lists under subjects and links to online resources. Users can also log on to their own area of the catalogue and see their borrowing history, review, reserve or renew their books, and create book lists.
The library hosts weekly ‘reading buddies’ sessions during which year 9 volunteers read with year 7 students, supporting them with their literacy and helping them find books at their level. Year 9 reading buddy volunteers undergo training to help prepare them for this important role. We are in the process of setting up a formal arrangement with the international publisher Hachette; a project which they will facilitate to encourage reading for pleasure amongst all of our students, including those who struggle with reading.
Throughout the year there are events, trips and clubs related to reading and the library. The book group takes part, along with other Hackney schools, in the annual Shadowing the Carnegie Medal Award event. There are regular visits from authors and poets with book-signing sessions. Once a term the librarians take a group of students to the British Library to enjoy a tour and a workshop. The two highlights of the year are the week-long celebration of reading around World Book Day with lots of fun activities. (There are quizzes and competitions, a Readathon, a Book Swap, and on the last day, in what is fast becoming an annual tradition, the whole school gets together to dress up as a character from a book.) And Black History Month when we invite Authors of Colour in to discuss issues and to share their stories with the students.
We have, in addition to the physical library, membership of the Listening Library which gives access to core texts for students who struggle with their reading. We also have an e-library which is available to use free of charge whenever a student might want to read but has run out of books, with a link on the school website.
We are building partnerships with companies who share our vision of a new generation of wonderful readers; amongst these companies are Bloomsbury and Hot Key (both publishers who have provided us with free books), and SAGE who have a grant scheme for which we have successfully applied.