Author Archives: jhoran2014

St Aidan’s High celebrates Roald Dahl Week

With Roald Dahl Day falling on a Saturday this year (13 September), I knew the library would celebrate it in the week leading up to that date. And as it was my first big book event in St Aidan’s, I decided that the whole week would be devoted to Dahl.

As this year is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we used that novel for our theme. The week before our events, our newly recruited army of pupil library helpers prepared the library, with the help of some talented S6 pupils, by turning it into Wonka’s chocolate room, complete with a chocolate river flowing through the centre and an Augustus Gloop-filled pipe. By the start of our Roald Dahl Week, the scene was set.

Monday lunchtime introduced pupils to the characters of Charlie… as they were given the opportunity to interview Mr Wonka and an Oompa Loompa (aka a couple of very game teachers!) and find out about their lives in the chocolate factory.

On Tuesday, the chocolate room truly lived up to its name as pupils were invited to make their own sweets from mixed fruit, marshmallows and the contents of a chocolate fountain. Beforehand, pupils enjoyed some time standing about in the playground as, in pure synchronicity, the school fire alarm happened to go off at the same time as I accidentally burned the chocolate in a smoke-billowing microwave. (I will remember that moment should I ever be interviewed for CILIP Update’s “Most embarrassing professional moment”.) Back inside, and with fresh chocolate, pupils were also able to sample some teacakes gifted to us from Tunnock’s as well as goodies provided by our pupil Fair Trade group. And all this to the accompaniment of my dulcet tones reading aloud Augustus Gloop’s story – a warning about chocolate-gluttony if ever there was one.


Wednesday was a much more peaceful affair, with our writing group creating adverts for their Roald Dahl inspired inventions. Top inventions included the Eye Glass (texting, facetiming and TV watching all available via your lenses when you put your glasses on), Hover Boots for when you’re tired of walking, and the Clobber Cupboard (giving you complete, ready-to-wear outfits). After all that excitement, we needed a relaxing finale, so we ended the week with a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film show (accompanied by the left-over teacakes).

The week’s events have seen our lunchtime visits soar, a trend which will hopefully continue over the next few weeks as we launch the Scottish Children’s Book Awards.

Categories: Events, Librarians, Libraries, Reading, School Librarians, Storytelling | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Youth Libraries Group Scotland’s Celebration of Reading

Youth Libraries Group Scotland (YLGS) invites you to a celebration of reading:

  • Enjoy cake, nibbles and wine
  • Nominate books for the Carnegie & Greenaway awards
  • Win prizes

…and it is free!

This event is aimed at people with an interest in promoting reading for pleasure to children and young people.

The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are the UK’s oldest and most prestigious children’s book awards. Often described by authors and illustrators as ‘the one they want to win’ – they are the gold standard in children’s literature.

The CILIP Carnegie Medal is awarded by children’s librarians for an outstanding book for children and young people. The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded by children’s librarians for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people.

Come along and take part in discussions about the books on our shortlists, and vote for your favourite. The titles with the most votes will be put forward as the YLGS nominations.

It is not necessary to have read all the titles before attending as we will have the books there and each will be championed by a different YLGS member.

This is a relaxed, fun event with a focus on what we love the most – great books!

As with all YLGS events there will be lots of laughs and excellent snacks!

This event will be held in room 14.25 of the Computing and Information Sciences Department in Livingstone Tower at Strathclyde University, with stunning views over the city.

A place at the event can be booked here:

Categories: Stuff and things | Leave a comment

“Ode to Reading” by S1

Today, after handing out Pupil Library Helper application forms to eager S1 pupils, I wept and laughed in equal measure at the wonderfully honest responses of these innocent, enthusiastic, desperate-to-please children in their first week of secondary school, caught before they evolve into sulky, irritable teens who avoid the library at all costs (usually by Christmas, in my experience). Here are a few of the best responses:


Firstly, pupils were asked to give their name and year. 11 out of the 12 wrote their year as S1, the remaining one wrote “2014”. He won. It was a trick question.


Pupils were then asked “Why is reading important?”

  • “You can learn about life”
  • “It helps you aim for your dreams”
  • “It gives us creativity”
  • “You learn from reading”
  • “It expands your imagination”
  • “It educates the human brain”
  • “You can find stuff in books that you can’t find on the internet”
  • “Well, it helps your speach and it kinda makes you smarter”


Finally, my favourite:

  • “It helps people with there spelling”


And as this was an application form for a job in the school library, I had to ask why they would be a good member of library staff

  • “I can do anything you ask” (Being asked to do everything? Yep, kid, sometimes it feels like that.)
  • “I would help everyone that needs help”
  • “I hate mess” (What are you saying about my library?)
  • “I’d help everyone find a good book”
  • “Well, I don’t have anything else to do at lunchtime”

Okay, here comes the weep-y one

  • “I want to help people so I feel good about myself”

Last but certainly not least

  • “I would love it”


And after reading these, I’ve remembered that I love it too.

Categories: Stuff and things | 2 Comments

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