"It isn't just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you - and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life." Isaac Asimov
The Bryan Marsden Learning Centre is an excellent resource for both pupils and staff. The Library section has a stock of over 7,000 paper resources, with over 450 being added in the last year. The Dewey System, as in all major libraries, classifies the non-fiction books. The fiction titles are organised first by genre and then by author and are colour-coded to ease identification. A strong emphasis is placed on providing resources to develop reading for pleasure, with resources starting from reading age 6 to develop reading confidence, through to challenging reads for the most able. This includes a growing section of fiction chosen to appeal to our Sixth Form students, both to widen their reading when studying English Literature at A level and to read for pleasure.
We have a wide range of e-books which can be read on any computer in school and are accessible from home. The current titles are especially suitable for pupils who are reluctant readers – good, snappy stories with illustrations to encourage reading. We are using Kindles with small groups of students within school, and have found that pupils engage well with stories whose length or physical appearance would otherwise have put them off.
Students have access to the library catalogue from any school computer using the 'Oliver' database and we have created Reading Lists on it, such as If you like Twilight…, Page Turners, and Dystopian Novels to help pupils find another book to enjoy.
The Learning Centre is open before school (8.00 – 8.30am), at morning break and after school (2.45 – 4.00pm) for students to study and borrow books on most days. Exceptions are updated each week and displayed on the door. During the school day, classes are booked in to use the facilities to support their learning.
The main Learning Centre area has tables and seating for a full class plus 15 computers, an interactive whiteboard and a digital display screen. Adjacent to the main space is the Mezzanine – an impressive resource with 60 computers arranged in pods of 6. This is widely used throughout the school day by different groups, including our Sixth Form students.
The Learning Centre leads lessons on Research Skills, runs Book Week sessions, supports whole school reading initiatives and provides training for student Library Ambassadors.
There is an informative range of displays and we run the Scholastic Book Club - we earn commission to buy more books for the Library and there is no commitment for students to keep buying books - just one order is fine! (see link on the right)
Bryan Marsden was Deputy Head from 1989 until his sudden death in 2000. He was an inspirational teacher of History, held in great esteem by his pupils. He travelled extensively in the USA, experiencing incredible landscapes and absorbing the history of the West. He loved literature and learning – the Learning Centre is dedicated to his memory.