Memorial Library Review

Monday 28th March 2022

It’s been another fantastically busy term in the Memorial Library: we’ve had over 10,000 visits, and loaned over 1,000 resources so far. We’ve kicked off Form Projects with the Shell, Upper School pupils have been covering our whiteboards in revision notes, and we’ve handed out Easter eggs galore to our World Book Day quiz winners. We’ve had visiting poets, visiting partner schools, and launched our afternoon Shell board games club. Phew!

Here’s a look back at some of our highlights…

Harry Potter Book Night: On the evening of Thursday 3rd February, the Memorial Library joined hundreds of other schools, libraries and bookshops across the country in celebrating Harry Potter Book Night, and plenty of Marlborough College Potter fans turned up to help us out. The Hogwarts Express steamed in to Platform 9¾, laden with goodies including Ferrero Rocher golden snitches, and platefuls of jelly snakes, worms, and spiders. The Butterbeer was flowing as pupils were sorted into their Hogwarts houses and competed in the Triwizard Cup Challenge: an alchemy lesson (involving marshmallows and spaghetti), transfiguration class (a quick-fire Play-Doh creation challenge), and exams (on Harry Potter trivia, of course). There was stiff competition, but at the end of the evening, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff emerged victorious and split the spoils between them!

This year we also ran a Design a House Crest Competition, inviting pupils to create a Hogwarts-style crest for their College house. We received some stunning entries, but our winners were both from Mill Mead: Bella’s design featured a fearsome leopard which we felt really captured the fighting spirit of this house, while Xanthe’s crest featured a wily fox and beautiful detailing. You can view the designs below.

World Book Day: To celebrate World Book Day this year the Library, in partnership with the Modern Languages department, laid on a delicious spread of foods from around the world, including sushi, pizza, baklava, pretzels, croissants, chorizo, and much more… plus delicious sweet and savoury tarts from Marlborough’s Tarte in a Box! Over 80 pupils came along to sample some international foods, and take part in the Modern Languages quiz, which was won by Naomi H (U6). There was also a chance to explore our North Face Reading Challenge: a collection of titles chosen by the Modern Languages teachers. There’s a mix of classic and contemporary fiction, both in translation and in original languages, as well as non-fiction works which explore countries and cultures in more depth. You can download the North Face reading list from our website page.

This year also saw the return of our World Book Day Bake-Off Challenge; we asked pupils to bake something inspired by their favourite book or book series. Again, we were blown away by the creativity and culinary expertise on display. Xanthe (Sh) took first prize with her amazing Harry Potter cake, complete with wand, stars, and tiny Hogwarts crests, while Nina took second place with her post-apocalyptic Hunger Games cake, with buttercream flames, and a golden chocolate Mockingjay symbol. Check out both cakes in the gallery below.

Visits from Poets and Partner Schools

This term the library played host to a range of visitors, including poet Rachel Long who held a poetry workshop for the Lower Sixth, before going on to give a reading of her work to pupils from all year groups. Our budding poets were incredibly inspired by Rachel, whose debut collection My Darling From the Lions, has been described as “Exciting and accessible at the same time as being formally brave and lyrically skilful, [it] skewers sexual politics and vexed notions of identity with wit, warmth and precision.” Pupils had the opportunity to talk to Rachel individually at a supper in the Library, and find out about life as a writer, poet, and young creative artist.

We also welcomed our partner school, Swindon Academy, to the library for a number of visits this term. Year 7 and Year 10 pupils have begun research projects looking at the most important events from the last seventy years of the Queen’s reign. Year 7 will be producing and presenting a poster, while Year 10s are working on an extended essay. Head Librarian Mr Burton provided a rundown on research skills, and referencing essentials, and the Library Team worked hard to produce information packs for all pupils.

There are already some really interesting ideas in the mix, ranging from the invention of the mobile phone to the assassination of JFK, and we’re looking excited to see the results of everyone’s hard work and research in the Summer Term!

Everest Reading Challenges

Our Everest Reading Challenges are now in their seventh year, and are a core part of Marlborough’s reading strategy. Each challenge offers a selection of books for pupils to choose from, 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 Easter break is the perfect time to set some reading goals; if you’d like to explore the selections, the booklets for all four Everest Challenges are available to download here under resources.

The Library team wish everyone a restful break, and we look forward to seeing you in the Summer Term!

James Burton, Victoria Williams and Daniel Hartshorn
Memorial Library Team

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