Summer is our shortest term, but we’ve certainly packed in a lot of events and activities: we’ve had over 14,000 visits to the Library and over 1,600 loans. We’ve had visits from local primary schools, and from our partner school Swindon Academy. We’ve been here to support our exam-years with a quiet space, group revision areas, and a bucket of lollipops for those in need. We’ve made sure that all of our Shell pupils have been able to borrow some summer reading, and we’ve shipped off over 100 boxes of books to schools and libraries across the world via our charity partners. Here are a few highlights, and a few photos…
Harry Potter Afternoon for Local Primary Schools
Early summer saw the library very busy with local primary school classes visiting for an afternoon of Harry Potter fun; they were greeted by Hagrid, the groundskeeper of Hogwarts, who was filling in for Head Librarian, James Burton. Hagrid led his intrepid pupils through an alchemy class (combining Spaghetti and Marshmallows), followed by a magical scavenger hunt through the library, and finally exams (an interactive Harry Potter trivia quiz). The pupils from St Mary’s Church of England, Preshute and Great Bedwyn primary schools were thrilled to meet Hagrid and explore our Hogwarts-style library, and Hagrid was equally delighted to receive some wonderful thank you letters and drawings in return.
Swindon Academy Partnership
Our work with local schools continued with fortnightly visits from our partner school, Swindon Academy. Their Year 8 Grammar Stream pupils joined us to work on a research project looking at the most significant historical events from the last 70 years. Pupils chose a variety of different events to look at – from the moon landing, to the end of Section 28, to the war in Ukraine – and spent each library session researching and designing a poster, which they presented to the group in their final visit. Two pupils each won a £30 Amazon voucher for their excellent posters and presentations; Leonie looked at the end of Apartheid in South Africa, and Sarah presented on the life and death of Princess Diana.
We look forward to welcoming Swindon Academy back to the library next year for the chance to build on their research and presenting skills, and of course, more fun and prizes.
Events: Harry Potter Night, and the Everest Reading Challenge Trip
This term had something of a Harry Potter theme, as Hagrid made a reappearance for our second Harry Potter Night of the year. Our first one, back in February, had been open to Shell pupils only, but following protests from die-hard Potter-fans, we agreed to a summer re-run for all years. And plenty of Upper School pupils joined us to unwind from exam stress, and compete in the Tri-Wizard Cup Challenge… as well as chomp on chocolate frogs and jelly snakes.
We also took our annual Everest Reading Challenge trip. This year 30 pupils joined us on our reward trip for keen readers and Everest Reading Challenge completers. We headed to Cineworld for a private screening of Jurassic World: Dominion, before returning to the College for a delivery of Bite Me Burgers, and desserts from Tarte-in-a-Box. Well done to everyone who conquered the Reading Challenge this year! Read on for details of how to get started on next year’s Challenge, and earn a place on the trip…
The Everest Reading Challenges
Our Everest Reading Challenges 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 a private movie screening and a library picnic with pizza and burgers:
• 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 Summit has also been entirely refreshed to assist English A level pupils with selecting their NEA texts: each book has a list of themes and suggested companion texts. And of course, the Base Camp Challenge has been updated with a range of exciting new titles, from classics like The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde to contemporary fiction such as The Supreme Lie by Geraldine McCaughrean and The Stranded by Sarah Daniels.
The summer break is the perfect time to get a head start on next year’s Challenge, and if you’d like to explore the selections, the booklets for all four Everest Challenges are available to download from the College website.
If you’re looking for more summer reading inspiration, why not check out our Summer Reads booklet, available to view on Firefly: 16 sizzling reads to enjoy in the sunshine. From mysteries to romance, WW2 to ancient Greece, there’s something for everyone.
Stats of the Year
This has been another bumper year for the library, with over 45,000 visits, over 5000 loans, and 224 individual research support sessions on topics ranging from global food supplies to naval medicine and to body image in ballet. Phew! We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our pupils and visitors, and to wish everyone a very happy summer holiday. We look forward to seeing you in September!