Spice up your sources! College-wide access to JSTOR and Connell Guides now available

We have a reJSTOR buttonally exciting addition to our extensive e-library resources for the pupils and staff to access for research and school work. We now have whole school access to JSTOR’s impressive  academic journal databases. JSTOR is a digital library including more than 2,000 academic journals (50 million pages have been digitized with around 3 million added each year). It is an excellent resource, particularly for the 5th and 6th form and particularly strong in the fields of English, Classics and History. It is used comprehensively by university students and becoming familiar with it in College is good preparation for higher education and for developing independent study skills.  All our pupils can use it without the need to login, from any computer on the college network. Instructions are given on the e-library page of the Intranet for accessing it remotely. The librarians are very happy to help with any questions about this.

4th form – give it a try for your IGCSE English projects as you are currently gathering reliable and varied sources for your articles.connell guides2

We have also recently subscribed to Connell Guides. These are attractive, well-written pocket guides to English Literature. They cover a number of the texts taught in English such as The Great Gatsby, Othello, T.S Elliot’s Wasteland and many other classic novels, plays and poetry. The online content (available via the e-library) consists of a monthly quiz, fortnightly essays and monthly reviews. The content is informative and engaging, written by experts in the field of literature.

Y9 Carnegie Book Award Shadowing Update

Carnegie Book Prize – 3rd form reading and reviewing

Mrs Lunnon challenged her 3rd form English class to read all 8 shortlisted Carnegie Book Award titles over the Easter break and very impressively Mira, Anna and Ella succeeded. All of the pupils read a variety of the books and it was lovely to see the class writing reviews and discussing their opinions of these books in the Library this morning.

carnegie discussionsHere are some of their comments on ‘All the Truth that’s in me’ by Julie Berry which has proved a popular story.

Anna: This was a quite disturbing read and I wouldn’t recommend it if you are afraid of gore. The story is set in a peaceful village when a young girl returns home at the age of 18 after an awful trauma, two years ago she was kidnapped, her best friend was killed and her tongue was severed. Because the loss of her tongue she can’t explain what happened to her. It’s dark and depressing however, its language is lyrical, it has a good mystery and a compelling heroine. I really enjoyed this book.

Francesca: I really enjoyed ‘All the truth that’s in me’.  Julie Berry uses such an unusual and unique style of writing to describe a young girl’s return to her hometown following her kidnapping which really engages and intrigues the reader. I found there to be continuous twists and unpredicted points throughout the novel, and would definitely recommend it.

Edie: It has a thrilling plot, and is highly original. Although it can be extremely dark and sinister (maybe too much for some people), I would definitely recommend it.

Lucy Atherton: The Carnegie Award judges books on 3 criteria – style, characterisation and plot and I would say this book excelled at them all. A thrilling read which unravels details tantalisingly slowly.

Read more of the 3rd form reviews on the Carnegie Shadowing website

Watch a video of the author Julie Berry talking about writing the book and giving advice to young writers.


Carnegie Book Award Shortlist 2014

carnegie covers 2 2014

The eagerly awaited Carnegie Medal Shortlist 2014 was announced on Tuesday 18th March. This annual book prize is awarded to the writer of an outstanding children’s book. Schools around the UK and the rest of the world shadow this prize – by reading and discussing the 8 books and voting for their favourites. A panel of school librarian judges make the final decision. We will be joining in – with groups of 3rd form pupils reading the shortlist. A number of the books are well-suited to 4th and 5th form too, so do encourage your children to choose some exciting, well-written and compelling fiction for the Easter holidays. Here’s a BBC News article on this year’s prize.

Watch clips of all the authors talking about their books here.

We also have the Kate Greenaway Medal picture book shortlist in library stock.

‘The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955, for distinguished illustration in a book for children. It is named after the popular nineteenth century artist known for her fine children’s illustrations and designs.The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people. The winner receives a golden medal and £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice.’ (http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway/)

These beautifully illustrated and often very humorous picture books make a great addition to our stock for young children. We very much enjoy our visits from the staff babies and toddlers and on Wednesday afternoons a group of pupils read the picture books to the children as their service activity.

carnegie covers 2014


World Book Day Shelfies – Can you match the book shelf to the teacher?

pollyI’ve got a bit of an obsession with shelfies at the moment (not my idea but I love it). Snapshots of people’s bookshelves are fascinating. Here are some examples submitted to The Guardian newspaper in December 2013. I thought it would be interesting to post some staff shelfies on the library blog to celebrate World Book Day next Thursday 6th March. At the staff CPD “Ideas Exchange” in the library on Wednesday I was chatting about this plan and Matt Oakman came up with the brilliant idea of making it into a competition – match the shelfie to the teacher.

shelfie 1

Three very diverse examples of staff shelfies. Email yours to the  library before Thursday 6th March.

shelfie 2

shelfie 3 shelfie 4 shelfie 6 Shelfie 7 shelfie 8 shelfie 9 shelfie 10 shelfie 11 shelfies 5

Quite a few Penguins and a smattering of Puffins!

Quite a few Penguins and a smattering of Puffins!

6th Form Research and Referencing advice

As the L6 IB students embark on their Extended Essays here’s some advice and information which we hope will be useful for all 6th formers, both A level and IB. How much do you know about the EE requirements? Try this quick Extended Essay quiz devised by Sarah Pavey, the Librarian at Boxhill School.


  • Check the catalogue See what books are available in College.
  • Ask the librarians! We are here to help and can get articles and books from other libraries (e.g. British Library and London Library)
  • Use the e-library We subscribe to a large number of online resources. Try Questia as a starting point for e-books and articles on any subject and including international coverage.
  • NewsBank – For local and national newspaper articles indexed up to yesterday and going back to the 1980’s.
  • Google Scholar Get to the heart of the good stuff on Google. Find scholarly or academic articles, research and reports on Google Scholar. If it doesn’t give you full-text access, it is likely that we can track these down for you.
  • Make a note of the details of the sources you use as you go along, this makes it much easier to compile the Bibliography at the end.
  • More information about other online sources on the e-library here
  • Think about the keywords you are using to search for your subject – make a list of alternative words and synonyms to broaden and narrow your search results.
  • Read this excellent booklet: Using Sources – A Guide for Students: Find it – Check it – Credit it
  • For study tips – note-taking, organising your time etc See the Revision and Research Help page on this blog

More web sources:

Subject Portals Pinakes is a website hosted by Heriot Watt University. It provides a “Subject Launchpad”. Portals bring the best websites and collections of documents together in one place. Particularly useful and famous ones are:

  • Bized (for Business Studies and Economics)
  • Sci Central Gateway to the best Science News sources
  • Sapling  Architecture, Planning and Lanscape information gateway.
  • Physics World – News, views and information for the global physics community from the Institute of Physics
  • Philosophy around the Web Don’t be put off by the amateurish look of this website.The main purpose of this site is to act as a guide and a gateway to philosophy resources on the Internet.
  • PubMed Central PMC is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM).


Avoiding Plagiarism

My favourite anti-plagiarism video comes from Bergen University Library. It’s based on Charles Dickens ‘Christmas Carol’ and is very funny.

Using images

Be sure to credit images you use. Here’s a useful website ‘5 good places for students to find public domain images‘ (these are images you can use to illustrate your work but you still need to cite the copyright holder)

Wikimedia Commons

This is an excellent initiative by the creators of wikipedia. People have donated their photos to be freely used by others. This is an excellent source of copyright free images.



  • For more advice and information on Referencing and compiling your Bibliography see the Referencing & Research page of the intranet
  • Always list all your sources in your Bibliography (include people you interviewed, Tweets, Podcasts, TV documentaries, online sources and websites as well as the more obvious books, articles and newspapers)
  • Always state the date you accessed a website
  • To generate bibliographic references very easily try Cite This For Me
  • Be consistent – choose one style of referencing and stick to it. Harvard is a good one to adopt.

Twelve Words of Winter – Competition results and a Flash Fiction Challenge

Twelve Words of Winter

Thank you all for your imaginative, humorous, poetic  and sometimes sad entries to the ‘Twelve Words of Winter’ competition.  We had over 110 entries which kept us entertained throughout the day as your snippets arrived in our inbox. The idea was to write a 12 word story on the theme of winter.  Dr Joanna Seldon judged the competition (entries were anonymous) and she was very impressed with the quality of entries.

And the winners are…

3rd Form: ‘An old man travels through Winter, hoping to reach the other side.’ Ravi Parmar 9HI

4th Form: ‘The dead trees clench for revival.  Snow falls but there’s no survival.’ Kelsey Johnson 10C

5th Form: ‘Snow fell.  I saw her battle against Spring.  Her sacrifice brought Christmas.’ David Kim 11M

Lower 6th: ‘The pale cheeks of the land were turned white by winter’s breath.’ Harry Bentley 12T

Upper 6th: “Mum, for Christmas can I have -?”


“But mum?”


“Fine… dad?” Charlie Penny 13Hn

The overall pupil winner was Charlie Penny (U6)

This was the only entry to tell a story using dialogue, and I thought it was ambitious, brilliantly effective and very humorous.

The staff winners were:‘Winter has months to go before the milk flower of the snow.’ Dinah Ford

Two left feet on dance floor.  Strictly voted out in round four.’ Jim Dewes

The winner of the family category: ‘Serve the cake and chocolate log: Christmas turkey is in the dog.’ Marion Ogilvie (Grandmother of Jack Moore, 13Bn)

The Eagle House winner was:  ‘Santa accidentally put elves in the washing machine; they shrunk…a lot…’ Asya Janmohamed, Y7

74 schools entered the national competition. The winner was a student at Ashton on Mersey School with the following story:

‘The wind howled, the fire danced, the snowman stood, the children waited.’

Flash Fiction Competition – 50 Word Stories

If you still feel like writing very short stories why not try the Scottish Book Trust’s ‘Flash Fiction’ competition? Can you write a 50 word story set at a birthday party? Entries must be submitted by January 20th 2014 so time to get writing!


Festive Fun – Christmas reading lists, quizzes and more

Here’s a Christmas Animoto giving a flavour of what’s been happening in the Library this Michaelmas term.

I love the end of the year and the Christmas break for the plethora of themed booklists which spring up in all the papers. It’s a good opportunity to seek out the great books you’ve missed from earlier in the year.  It’s also the season of book quizzes.

Reading Times 2013

School librarians are excellent sharers of good ideas. Here’s a lovely idea from Helen Smith, Learning Resources Manager at Eckington School. She has compiled a wonderful booklet called Reading Times 2013 in which she lists all the Christmas TV and radio based on or relating to books. Helen has very generously shared it with all of us. It makes fascinating reading.

Hidden Books Quiz

Caboodle website has two great pictoral book quizzes. Work out the title of the famous books from the pictures. Almost impossible to leave until you’ve cracked all 20.

Teamwork tackling the hidden books quiz.

Teamwork tackling the hidden books quiz. 

The Guardian Children’s Book Website has a vast range of quick online book quizzes – from Elephants in Fiction to Graphic Novels and Comic books or banned books 

Our head of Maths Mr Sproat just reminded me about Sporcle. This is the perfect site for quiz and trivia fans. Try the book cover quiz (identify the book by a portion of its cover) or can you name the book titles given their loosely based antonyms? or name the book titles without vowels or spaces? In fact there are 1000 quizzes relating to books!

Best books of the Year

Here is The Guardian’s Best Fiction List of  2013

The Telegraph: Best Fiction of 2013 …’a vintage year for lengthy fiction’



12 Words of Winter Competition

Can you write a story in just 12 words?library snow

This year we’re taking part in the ’12 Words of Winter’ competition, which challenges people to write a story on the theme of winter in 12 words. The story doesn’t have to rhyme.

Last year’s winning story was:

‘Mr Snowman needed a cuddle, the sun agreed… now he’s a puddle.’


Think you can do better? Then email the library with your entry by midday on Thursday 5th December. There will be prizes for the best entries and the best overall pupil entry will then be entered into the national competition to compete against the winners from other schools across the country.

Here is a sample of our entries:

  A Thriller 

Winter killed autumn; autumn killed summer; summer killed spring; spring killed winter.’


‘Skating, dark surrounds, ice slicker than blades can stick. Snowflakes melt crimson.’

‘On snow covered earth, bullets fly, men fall, the war, began ending.’

‘Someone meddled with Santa’s minced pies, he fell asleep and later died’

Remember it doesn’t have to rhyme!

‘Putting the Library at the Heart of Your School’ – 18th November at Wellington College

HMC Professional Development Conference for Librarians – at Wellington College 18th Nov 2013

Tomorrow we look forward to welcoming around 50 fellow school librarians for an exciting day of sharing ideas, listening to speakers and discussing school library issues.

The theme of the conference is ‘Putting the library at the heart of your school’

We look forward to welcoming the following speakers:

  • Ann Harding, independent trainer with 15 years of library experience – Reading for pleasure: promoting reading in senior schools
  • Chris Powis, Head of Library and Learning Services, The University of Northampton – Teaching Skills for Librarians

Workshops in the Mallinson Library:

  • Nicola McNee, Kingswood School Librarian – Using social media in librarianship
  • Tom Wayman, Head of English, Wellington College – whole school reading project
  •  Lucy Atherton(that’s me) and my colleague Helen Dahlke, Wellington College Librarian, will be running a workshop on e-books and the e-library

You will also have the opportunity to talk to:

  • Joyce Martin, Director JCS Online Resources
  • Catherine Allen, from Touch Press educational apps
  • Lizzie Duffy, from Browns Books for Students – VLEbooks. Find out more about the VLEbooks e-book platform for schools.


If you would like to Tweet on the day we are suggesting using the hashtag #HMClib13 so that I can storify tweets from the day – bringing together all your thoughts and ideas in an easily readable format.