Library News Round-Up

Wednesday 15th December 2021

The Memorial Library Team review a packed Michaelmas Term, which has seen over 2,000 loans, 150 research support sessions, 140 classes, two gaming nights, several board game groups, one pumpkin carving competition and 15 Christmas Craft Challenges.

Research Support Sessions

Michaelmas Term sees the start of a number of major research projects for pupils across the College, including the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and the Non-Exam Assessment (NEA); both significant independent research projects. The EPQ in particular has long been recognised as an excellent preparation for university-level research, with one academic noting that EPQ pupils are ‘six months ahead of their peers’ in terms of research skills. Fittingly then, the Memorial Library offers a tailored ‘university style’ research support service to all Marlborough College pupils. Pupils are able to book an appointment with a Librarian for a bespoke introduction to useful books, online databases and research strategies. Once again, this service has proved overwhelmingly popular, with over 150 sessions delivered on subjects as diverse as racehorse training, space tourism and fashion design! The sessions allow pupils to get to know what the library has to offer, and to gain the knowledge and confidence to continue researching for themselves.

The Hundred Research Prize

This term also saw our third annual Hundred Research Prize. As the name suggests, the prize is open to Hundred pupils and is intended to offer an opportunity to go above and beyond their GCSE studies, as well as to encourage and reward excellent research skills. This year we asked: ‘If you could abolish one thing to make the world a better place, what would it be and why?’ Over 20 pupils submitted essays arguing the case for the abolition of greed, aspartame and stress, along with many other suggestions. Our winner was Cecily M who argued for the abolition of plea bargaining in the US criminal justice system. Judges Dan Clark (Deputy Head Academic) and James Burton (Head Librarian) commented that Cecily’s essay ‘clearly laid out the problems with plea bargaining, used examples to illustrate the ills that it causes society, especially in America, and held up alternative models and suggestions for change, which would lead to a fairer legal system for all.’  Second prize went to Henry S for his essay on abolishing dictatorship, while Catriona M won third prize with her essay on nuclear weapons. Special mention was also given to Will E for his essay on fossil fuels, and to Tabitha L for her essay on abolishing paper currency. We would once again like to congratulate all our winners: their essays can be found on our Firefly page, and we would also like to say a big thank you to all Hundred pupils who took the time to submit an essay; the creativity and insightfulness on display was inspiring, and we look forward to next year’s competition!

The Everest Reading Challenge

Our Everest Reading Challenges are now in their sixth year, and are a core part of Marlborough’s reading strategy. Each challenge offers a selection of books and a target number of books to read in order to win a place on our reward trip for pizza and a private movie screening:

  • Base Camp: A fiction reading challenge for Lower School pupils (10 books required);
  • The Summit: A fiction reading challenge for Upper School pupils (5 books required);
  • North Face: A reading challenge for Modern Languages pupils, offering a mix of fiction and non-fiction across six different languages (5 books required);
  • The Expedition: A non-fiction reading challenge for pupils of Maths, the Sciences and Psychology (5 books required).

All reading challenge books are selected by Heads of Department in collaboration with the Library team, and are a great way of branching out and developing as a reader. The subject-specific reading challenges (North Face and The Expedition) are also perfect for developing wider subject knowledge and preparing for university personal statements. The Christmas break is a great time for getting through a challenge book or two, and if you’d like to explore the selections, the booklets for all Everest Challenges are available to download from the College website.

This term has seen over 350 challenge books read and returned, and two pupils have already read nine of the ten books required for the Base Camp challenge!

Events: Halloween and the Christmas Craft Challenge

As well as supporting the academic side of College life, we also like to offer up plenty of seasonal fun and games. This term saw the return of our Halloween pumpkin carving competition and terrifying trivia quiz, with over 40 trick-or-treaters joining us for spooky snacks and ghoulish fun. And, now in its fifth year, we’ve been busy running the Christmas Craft Challenge for all our Shell Forms: each group has one hour to build the tallest, self-supporting Christmas structure possible using the materials provided: namely boxes, tubes, fabric and a lot of tape! The resulting constructions often range from festive delights to ‘nightmare before Christmas’, but lots of fun is had by all!

A big thank you to everyone who’s attended a Library event this term – check out some of the photos below, and be sure to stay up to date by following us on Twitter!

The Library team wish everyone a peaceful holiday season, and we look forward to seeing you in the Lent Term!

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