Memorial Library Round-up

Thursday 27th June 2024

Summer is a shorter term but one of the busiest, as pupils prepare for and sit their GCSE and A level exams, the Shell complete their Form Projects, and many pupils embark on research and reading for their upcoming coursework. The library has been extremely busy with pupils revising, and booking in for our tailored research support sessions; we’ve seen over 15,000 visits, and issued over 2,000 loans this term, making this one of our strongest years for borrowing since 2020. And of course, we’ve been on hand to support pupils with quiet spaces, group revision areas, reading recommendations, and lollipops for those in need. Here we share a few highlights from this term, and a few photos.

Donation by Jonathan William de Burgh Persse

The library was grateful to be remembered in the will of Jonathan William de Burgh Persse, who taught History here at Marlborough from 1976-77. Jonathan was a Housemaster and Head of History at Kings’ School, Parramatta, and came to Marlborough for four terms as part of an exchange scheme. The Marlburian for Lent Term 1977 noted that “Jonathan, in his modest and self-effacing way, has made quite an impact on our community and gained many friends during his stay with us.”

Thanks to Mr de Burgh Persse’s kind gift, the library has been able to purchase titles for our new Humanities University collection, a reading list aimed at pupils preparing to study Classics, English Literature, History and History of Art at university. We have also been able to purchase a new collection of books on wellbeing and self-improvement; these will be of enormous help to pupils who may need some support with their mental health and wellbeing, or study and revision skills. Finally, we have been able to subscribe to New Scientist, a publication which will be of great interest and benefit to budding scientists.

The Everest Reading Challenge

This year we challenged pupils to read ten books from The Everest Reading Challenge in order to win vouchers for a cinema trip and food from popular local restaurant Bite Me Burgers. Over a dozen pupils from the Shell to the Lower Sixth completed the challenge this year, and are now all set to catch this summer’s blockbusters at the cinema. We hear that many have already used their burger vouchers for a delicious supper too! Congratulations to everyone who conquered the reading challenge this year! 

The Read-O-Rama

We’ll be saying goodbye to the Everest Reading Challenge this year, and, in September, shaking things up with a brand-new challenge: The Read-O-Rama!

The Read-O-Rama is a new reading roadmap from the Memorial Library. It is a collection of exciting and ground-breaking fiction books, all highly regarded, many of them classics, and together they form a list of ‘Must-Reads Before You Leave Marlborough College’. It has three levels to help pupils find books they will be happy reading: Foundation, Exploration and Aspiration.

To complete the challenge pupils will need to earn 120 points by June 2025:

  • Foundation books are worth 10 points
  • Exploration books are worth 20 points
  • Aspiration books are worth 30 points

Pupils can read any combination of books to complete the challenge, so for example: three Foundation books, three Exploration books and one Aspiration book. In addition, English beaks will nominate one winner from each of their Shell and Remove classes who have shown the most effort in reading throughout the year.

If pupils complete the challenge, or are nominated by their English beak, they will win a place for themself and a friend on our reward trip in June for pizza and a private movie screening! There will also be random prizes throughout the year to reward frequent borrowers and readers; including sweets, high-street vouchers, or Amazon vouchers! And, as if that weren’t enough, look out for our new inter-house competition, and Prize Drop machine: both coming to the Library from September…


We launched our new Instagram account this term; come and follow us for a range of exciting content, including regular feature, Mr B’s Books, in which Head Librarian Mr Burton reviews and recommends books he’s been reading recently. Watch as we figure out ‘filters’ and ‘reels’ and stay up-to-date with the latest library news, competitions, and book chat! Follow us: @MCol_Library

Upper Sixth Goodbyes

Every Summer Term brings mixed emotions, as we say goodbye to our departing Upper Sixth. Here in the library, we’ve seen first-hand how hard everyone has been working towards their exams, and how supportive they have been of each other, especially at moments when emotions have been running high. Everyone can be very proud of themselves, and we hope pupils will now have some time to relax and unwind.

We’ve also been very touched by the thank you messages we’ve received from pupils, and we’ll end this news round-up with a couple of these, all of which speak to what a special place the library can be. It is a privilege to run this service for such a wonderful community of pupils and staff, and we wish you all a wonderful and restful summer, and look forward to seeing you in September for another year of books, events, and fun!

“It’s so rare that you find a part of a school that all people genuinely respect and have no problems with, and I believe for me, and speaking for others, the library is that place for the College. The work space is incredible, there’s a calm, focused, and caring atmosphere within it that people definitely feel. The plethora of books and extra source material that is always available for coursework is amazing. But most of all, the staff and the library team make it the space it is, so really, thank you Sir and all the rest of the team for making it a space that I’d rather be in then my own room half the time. Also, I wanted to thank you personally, you run the library with such dedication and love, I think even Philip Larkin as a librarian would be jealous. I wish you all the best in the years to come and I don’t think any university that anyone goes to will ever have a library as amazing as Marlborough’s”.

“I just wanted to let you know that this [newsletter] issue was amazing, especially with you sharing the history associated with the LGBTQ+ community. I will miss your weekly Library news greatly, and I just wanted to also thank you for all the work you have done, especially with all the different opportunities in the library, such as the different themed nights and the trips and events at the end of the Summer Term – I especially remember watching the Godzilla vs Kong movie! I wish you all the best with your future in the College, and I will thoroughly miss the library after I leave”.

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