Author Archives: thelibrarywoman

Melvin Burgess Visit

As part of Book Week Scotland 2015, Chryston High School were excited to welcome Melvin Burgess to our school on Wednesday 25th November. The event was publicised in the library and across the school with pupils eager to find out if they had been picked to attend the event. 80 pupils were selected across S4 – S6 and due to the fact that the majority of the pupils attending the event wouldn’t be described as ‘readers’ to help prepare them for the visit I went into their English classes and showed a PowerPoint on some of Melvin’s books. It included the cover and blurb from ‘Bloodtide’, ‘Junk and ‘Doing It’, the main themes of the books and some reviews about the books. This led to an open discussion about the pupil’s first impression of the books and meant they had some understanding of Melvin’s works before the visit. Since these pupils would be categorised as reluctant readers  I was pleasantly surprised when a few of the S5 boys told me they were ‘buzzing’ to come and listen to Melvin and hear more about his books.

On the day there was definitely an excited atmosphere as the pupils all made their way to the hall to listen to Melvin. A few of the pupils told me they were really nervous as had never been to an author event before so weren’t quite sure what to expect. Melvin started the talk with ‘Bloodtide’ and although it took the pupils a while to warm up (being 9.30 in the morning) they were soon enthralled with his tales of Norse gods and the story of Siegfried and Brunhilde upon which ‘Bloodtide’ was based.

The next book the pupils were introduced to was ‘Doing It’, I think this was the book the pupils were most looking forward to hearing about, indeed it is the one that has been most borrowed since. Talking to a group of teenagers about sex is always going to get a few laughs, some shocks and a lot of embarrassed faces but the pupils really enjoyed listening to how Melvin went about researching and writing the book. It really brought home to the pupils that books do not need to be boring and that they can and will have stories in them that they can relate to, understand and laugh at.

After asking some questions and getting some really interesting answers from Melvin it was time for the pupils to purchase some books and take the opportunity for Melvin to sign them. There were a lot of pupils with red covers (Doing It) walking about the school that day.

Overall I feel that the event was a huge success, I have had a number of pupils stop me in the halls and come to the library to talk about Melvin and his books. Pupils have been borrowing his books since just before the visit and are still borrowing them now, I have a waiting list for ‘Junk’ and ‘Doing It’. It has been a great experience seeing the pupils enthused about an author and about reading books when it usually isn’t really their thing. I have already been asked if Melvin can came back again and when the next big author event is. Thank you to Book Week Scotland for giving the pupils at Chryston High the opportunity to listen to Melvin talk so passionately about his books and for helping to encourage the pupils to pick up a book and read.

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Happy Halloween

Just wanted to share a picture of my Halloween display. I have already had to replace some of the books so it must be working.


Anyone else any pictures they want to share?

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Yay YA+

Yay! YA+ Book Festival

On Friday 24th April nearly 200 pupils from local secondary school were all waiting with anticipation for the start of the first Yay! YA+ book festival – celebrating all that is brilliant about Teen Fiction in Scotland. Chryston High were lucky enough to take 10 pupils on the day and they were all looking forward to a great day meeting and listening to authors, buying books and enjoying exploring Cumbernauld Theatre.

So first off was an introduction from Kirkland Ciccone, he welcomed all the pupils then let them know what was in store for them throughout the day.

Kirkland Ciccone

Chryston High pupils were in the first group to go around Cumbernauld Theatre and meet a whole host of Scottish authors, getting to spend 10 minutes with each author listening to them talk about their books and their love for teen fiction then having the opportunity to ask questions.

First we met Linda Strachan and heard about her new book ‘Don’t Judge Me’ and her previous books, including Catalyst award winning book ‘Spider’. My usually shy pupils were brilliant at asking her lots of questions, so much so that we actually went over our time a little bit as they were so engaged.Linda Strachan

Next up for us was Alex Nye who spoke about her books ‘Chill’ and ‘Shiver’ The pupils loved her talk and have been borrowing her books since we got back to school that day.

We then met Matt Carney who really impressed the pupils with his tales of adventure, so much so that they are all trying to decide what adventures they want to go on when they leave school.

Matt Carney

Lari Don talking about her new book Mind Blind was a big hit with all the pupils, they all really enjoyed her talk and thought she was so enthusiastic about teen fiction that they couldn’t help but be too.

Lari don

Victoria Campbell kept the pupils entertained by taking about Viking fighting, which features in her book ‘Viking Gold’, and showing replicas of some of the weapons they used.

VC 20150424_111954

Last up on our tour was Roy Gill, talking about his books ‘Daemon Parallel’ and ‘Werewolf Parrallel’. The pupils loved listening to Roy talk about his inspiration for his books and had some really interesting questions to ask.

Roy Gill

After meeting all the authors the pupils had a chance to buy some books from Scotia and find a wee nook to eat some lunch before the second part of the day began.

In the auditorium, the pupils were treated to talks from Cathy MacPhail, Theresa Breslin and Barry Hutchinson. It was then time for some quick questions from the panel of authors before the bus was there to pick us up.

Cathy MacPhail 20150424_131731 20150424_140515

All the pupils had a great day and are already asking when the next one is, making the first Yay! YA+ festival a huge success.


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The Big Book Bash @ Chryston High

On Friday 29th November, for Book Week Scotland, I organised a Big Book Bash to take place during the 20 minutes of tutor time. The idea was that every pupil, teacher and member of staff would stop what they were doing for 20 minutes and read. I provided tutor classes with a selection of my best books and also encouraged the pupils to bring in books from home. This is the second time I have ran such an event and it was as much of a success as D.E.A.R was in March. It was lovely to walk the corridors and see the pupils and staff enjoying reading and I have even had a number of pupils that don’t normally use the library come and borrow the book they were reading.




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SLG Blog Update

I have added an example of good practice into the Information Literacy section of the blog. It is a task that I run with S1 Geography and always seems to get good results and feedback so thought I would share it with you all.

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D.E.A.R (Drop Everything and Read)

On Thursday 7th March pupils from Chryston High School took part in a D.E.A.R session, organised by Mrs Connor, as part of World Book Day 2013.

DEAR poster

D.E.A.R stands for Drop Everything and Read and the session lasted for the full 20 minutes of tutor time.

Every pupil in the school either brought in their own reading material or read a book supplied from the school library.

The purpose of the event was to promote World Book Day across the school and also to encourage the pupils to read for pleasure.

As a librarian is was amazing to walk the corridors during Tutor Time and see all the classes reading quietly and pupils totally absorbed in the stories they were reading.

D.E.A.R D.E.A.R DSCF1970 DSCF1972

The session has received positive feedback from both pupils and teachers who hope it will become a regular occurrence.

Some feedback from the Tutor Time teachers;

‘Just wanted to say thank you for organising the big read!  It was so nice a relaxed in tutor time and I would love to see it happening on a regular basis!’

‘I really enjoyed it. I think that most of the kids in the class did too – even although many of them were telling me that they never read for pleasure! Only one or two kids chatted quietly. Even the kids who said that they found reading boring sat quietly with their book.
It was really well organised. There was plenty of notice so that I could ask them about what book they’d be bringing in (we had a chat about some of the books we were reading etc) and give them lots of reminders to bring it. Having said that, several kids didn’t have a book with them but managed to pick something from the selection that was delivered from the library. One of the seniors who did this wants to keep reading the book that she borrowed.
I was really shocked at the number of pupils who don’t read for pleasure so I think that it’s definitely worth doing to try to encourage them more.
Thanks very much for organising it.’

I have had lots of pupils come in to borrow the book they were reading from the library which is always a good sign.

As a school we are hoping to have a D.E.A.R session every term then depending on how that goes maybe make it every month. I would love for it to happen every week so that the pupils get the chance to finish a book but one step at a time.

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Holocaust Memorial Day

S3 Religious Education pupils from Chryston High School recently took part in a lesson in the library to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. The idea behind the lesson was to help the pupils understand how the Jewish people were persecuted. An idea from fellow librarian, Marie McGough, inspired me to build a book ghetto in the library and have pupils banished to the book ghetto for reasons such as; has blue eyes, has a pet dog, likes JLS etc.


We started of with the pupils posing for some class pictures while one selected pupil read out the poem ‘First They Came’ by Pastor Martin Niemöller. As each verse was read out pupils were given a label and moved into the book ghetto.

hmd_poem hmd_likes

By the time the last verse of the poem was read out there was only one pupil left. The rest were all squashed inside the book ghetto.


We then had a discussion about how this made the pupils, they were all very sombre and reflective and really seemed to understand the importance of learning about the Holocaust.

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