For the love of books
17th November 2016

The Library at Epsom College and the promotion of reading for pleasure always has the support of the Headmaster, Jay Piggot and our Head of English Will Burn.  The Library is a central part of the life of the school and supports teaching and learning in as many ways as possible.

We were interested to hear Chris Riddell, the Children’s Laureate, talking on BBC Breakfast, after his open letter to the government which was reported in the Guardian.  He sadly warns that school efforts to encourage reading are ‘being undermined through lack of economic and intellectual investment’, he called on the government to look into the state of libraries in school, the value of reading for pleasure and of having qualified staff.  He went on to say that “by promoting reading for pleasure, introducing our children to life-changing books and turning them into lifelong readers, school libraries are a vital resource that must be nurtured”.  He also said “When every parent knows the name of their child’s favourite book, author and, yes, school librarian and can share and read together with their child the books they bring home, we know literacy standards will soar and we’ll all be richer.”

We are proud to boast that we have a Library team of 4 and their different backgrounds and experience complement each other to make a great contribution to the way the Library runs – efficiently but with a light touch and a genuine interest in the students and their reading and information needs.

Our Library staff include:  Sue Nichols – Librarian – who has worked in education libraries all her career and in school libraries for 13 years.  Penny Webbe – Deputy Librarian – who has worked in the Library at Epsom for 20 years, has a background in art and design and creates wonderful displays.  Marie Moorman – Library Assistant – who has worked in primary school libraries before coming to Epsom and has a background in IT and takes care of our blog and Twitter.  Jacqui Elsbury – Library Assistant – who has managed a local branch of a public library before joining Epsom and who keeps all our magazine and journal subscriptions in order.

Local Partnership

The Library at Epsom College has been working with Regency Bookshop in Surbiton for seven years and we really value the professionalism and expertise of an experienced bookseller in Pat Freestone-Bayes, together with the convenience of a regular personal delivery service from young Ray who is 83.

We enjoy supporting an independent bookshop which has traded since 1962, no mean feat in this age of digital publishing!  They have also won the London Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2015 and were shortlisted in 2016.  It is very useful to be able to visit the shop in person to make book selections ‘off the shelf’ with input from Pat on what is selling well and which local authors she would recommend.

Pat from Regency Bookshop said, “We are delighted to supply various schools with library and class books, and our efficient service has helped us to remain competitive in what can be a very difficult market.  We are dedicated to introducing books to new young readers. 24-hour ordering is an invaluable tool in winning new customers, as their orders often arrive by 10am the next morning and they are astonished by our efficient service. For people who cannot get to us we will make personal deliveries and we can wrap gifts too. We often receive signed copies from the publishers to give us an edge over online traders. Also, if we receive extra discount from the publisher, we always try and pass this on to the customer, so, you could pick up a new hardback with 25% off! 

“We host several Meet the Author evenings as well as dozens of author events with schools throughout the year. This gets the excitement going and seeing other children purchase a signed copy can often spur on the most reluctant of readers. Building a positive association with books will keep children engaged with reading. We have built up a reputation for recommendations and many customers return asking “what can I read next?!”  In an age where games and electronics compete for their attention, we are delighted to be a source of recreation for our young readers!  Building a positive association with books will keep children engaged with reading, and this is such a vital tool, which helps with their own expression and creative writing, as well as grammar and punctuation skills. Also, the ability to entertain oneself and enjoy a quiet moment is such an important skill. Of course, the added bonus of being whisked off to different places is the cherry on top!”  

You can follow Regency Bookshop on Facebook and Twitter.

Author event

In celebration of Children's Book Week, an event organised by the Book Trust; and at the invitation of Epsom College librarian, Sue Nichols, distinguished children's author, poet and translator, Kevin Crossley-Holland, recently visited the College to give a talk on Arthurian myths and language.  Kevin advised our Lower School pupils on how to develop their writing skills and they particularly enjoyed him speaking in Anglo-Saxon English, and they had the opportunity to purchase one of his books which were supplied by Regency Bookshop.

During the day, Kevin also ran two workshops for L6th and U6th form English students, who were particularly fascinated with his literary connections. He revealed that he knew WH Auden and Seamus Heaney, both of whom are being studied for A level, and was also inspired and mentored by Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit author, JRR Tolkien.

Best known for his Arthur trilogy, which has won worldwide critical acclaim, sold well over one million copies and been translated into twenty-five languages, Kevin Crossley-Holland has also translated the Old English poem, Beowulf, from the Anglo-Saxon.

Training librarians

Epsom College library are delighted to be hosting the London and South East branch of the School Library Association training event on Tuesday 15th November, titled ‘Reading for pleasure: Edgy, cool, or boring?  Make it infectious and survive!’  The trainer is Angie Curran a Chartered Educational Assessor, Chair of the London branch of the National Association of Advisers for English and an executive member of the NATE National Writing Project. 

The audience of 22 school library staff will be supported in selecting, organising and managing effective reading for pleasure programs in their school.  Being able to read broadly and in depth is essential and more effective levels of reading are not only demanded, but have taken on a significance and importance greater than ever before.  This training will look at programs that excite young people and switch them on to reading for pleasure, thus expanding and deepening their capacity for reading and learning.

Epsom College are proud to be at the forefront of this vitally important Library provision that will make a difference to the future of all our pupils.