Daily life

Scran and the library

I have always been aware of SCRAN but I am, I must confess at times an infrequent user of this resource. I am sure there are many within the library world who are frequent users but alas not myself. However, all this has changed in the last few weeks and I am glad it has!This resource is a wonderful treasure trove of images suitable for the needs of any school library and department within a school. The difference this can make is massive and here are some of the reasons why;

It’s free

You don’t have to worry about copywrite (It’s important you always reference your source and it’s free because our authortiy kindly pays for it. A big help to any school library!)

It can jazz up any workbook/presentation you have

It will save you time

I recently designed and wrote a ‘General Election Research Quiz’ for S3 Modern Studies pupils and a S1 PSHE/English reflective writings piece called ‘Our journey at Taylor High’ inspired by the Scottish Book Trust’s writing campaign for Scottish Book Week 2015. On both occasions, I used SCRAN to add more character to the library learning booklets.

Orginally, I was stumped about how to make our learning booklets more engaging and interesting. I was at a loss and asked advice of a fellow North Lanarkshire librarian, who asked ‘Have you tried SCRAN’? Of course, why didn’t I think of this earlier?

To give my quiz an added dimension, I used an image of a lady either exiting or entering a polling station in the rain. The image fitted perfectly with the subject of the quiz. I also hope it inspired pupils to create some of the names they choose for their teams, particularly, ‘The Polling Stations’ or ‘Polling Cards.’

For the reflective writing piece, I decided to choose an image based around the keyword of ‘Journeys’. That is when the ideal image appeared, a road in the middle of nowhere that stretched into the distance. Again, I had found an image which symbolised this project and what I wanted our pupils to think about.

I hope that many of my future projects in the library and my learning booklets will further benefit from this free online resource. Time to get my thinking cap on! Many thanks to the Modern Studies, English and PSHE Department.

Categories: Daily life, Social Studies, Technology | Tags: , | Leave a comment

National Libraries Day 2015

Pupils and staff at Taylor High School, New Stevenston have been busy getting ready for National Libraries Day 2015 over the last couple of weeks. Our fabulous Art department and some of our S1/S2 pupils were asked to create and design murals for the library.

The idea originally came from one of the Scottish Book Trust’s projects for ‘Book Week Scotland 2014’. I then began thinking about how my school could incorporate this for National Libraries Day.

Firstly, I had a brief discussion with my colleagues in Art and gave each one a copy of the National Libraries Day logo for inspiration. I followed this up with an e-mail suggesting possible ideas. However, it was really my colleagues who had the most challenging task.

Mrs Devlin’s S2 class became involved and she stated;

“Like previous library activities my classes have taken part in, I was keen and so were my S2 class to illustrate all the fantastic and wonderful things that happen in our school library.”

I gave each teacher and their classes the freedom to choose how to create their mural but asked them to follow three simple rules. These included;

(1)It must promote the work of the library.
(2) The mural can be completed as a class assignment or during lunchtimes.
(3) It should be either A3 or A4 in size.

S1 and S2 classes took part in this activity during their Art periods and the final results were nothing short of amazing. Each mural’s interpretation of life at Taylor High School library differed.

One of our S2 pupils commented;

“The activity was fun and different, a twist on what we normally do in Art. I am proud that our class’s mural is on the wall outside the library.”

Each mural depicted different aspects of life in the library. One was a collage and the other was inspired by the comic book format and both offered a valuable insight into life in the school library and the role it plays in our school community.

Mrs Ferguson’s S1 Art class also took part. She commented;

“My class were really enthusiastic about this project and came up with some amazing ideas. Once the class began to discuss possible ideas for the mural, there was no stopping them. As a class, they decided to design a mural like a comic book but using fictional characters from Beatrix Potter stories and Roald Dahl books to tell our community about life at Taylor High school library. ”

These artistic creations would not have been a success without the support and enthusiasm of my colleagues. It was a huge compliment to the library, as the murals proved our pupils hold our school library in high regard.

Thanks to all the staff and pupils who took part in this wonderful project.

Categories: Arts and Crafts, Creativity, Daily life, Events, Libraries | Leave a comment

Roald Dahl Activities and Competitions

We, at Taylor High school library, decided to hold a Roald Dahl Week of activities instead of trying to cram too much into one day. Originally this was to run from Monday 8 to Friday 12 September, the demand for the competitions was so fierce that we had to extend the closing date for another week.

• Competitions galore!! Colourful drawings of cup-cakes on display alongside the ‘dapper’ Willie Wonka figures and our ever popular Roald Dahl Word Search!

• Anna worked tirelessly with a number of staff to create a hilarious power-point presentation listing our ‘revolting recipes’.

• The Book Club and the Around the World were both very well attended and by the end of the week we had produced a very colourful back drop in the library.

• The obligatory prizes were given out and the recipients all went away feeling very pleased with themselves.

Hopefully we can continue to flame the enthusiasm of our library members!

Categories: Clubs / Groups, Competitions, Daily life, Reading | Leave a comment

Welcoming S1 pupils to the world of the library.

Every year when the new term begins the school is full of chatter from our S1s. Cathy (the other half of my role) and I try to design and organise as many fun but educational activities as possible.

This year we intend to celebrate as many national events as possible. These include celebrating Roald Dahl Day from the 8th September to the 12th September (a day was not enough for our plans), Halloween (my favourite), Scottish Book Week, Christmas, the Chinese New Year, National Libraries Day, World Book Day and anything else we can come up with.

Some of the events we organise are for the library only, while others get various departments across the school involved. Even our craft competitions get the staff involved. Recently, we ran our first craft competition. Pupils were asked to design and decorate their very own craft t-shirt to celebrate the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Many of our pupils were able to share stories about their experience of the games, be that from watching the television, going to the various sporting events, visiting Glasgow Green and even going to the dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony. It was wonderful to get to know some of our new S1 pupils and there were also a number of familiar faces to welcome back.

Our winners of the craft competition came from both S1 and S2. A member of our PE department chose the most creative.

Well done to all involved. We are really looking forward to meeting some new faces.

Categories: Arts and Crafts, Competitions, Creativity, Daily life, Events, Health and Well-Being | Tags: , | Leave a comment

World Cup fever comes to Taylor High School library

I arrived at Taylor High School at an awkward time, the exams were in full swing, the library was being used for the exams and the weather was beautiful so the students, understandably, wanted to be outside rather than visit the library.

Who was this new person working Thursday and Friday instead of Mrs Leslie.
So I thought to myself how can I make an impact before the Summer Holidays?

Once every four years the whole nation becomes involved in the excitement and anticipation of the World Cup. It doesn’t matter whether Scotland is involved as most of us enjoy the opportunity to see the best teams in the world play teams from lesser known countries. Waiting in anticipation to see who will win the coveted cup.

This also gives the library the opportunity to show the staff and pupils of the school that we are followers of ‘the beautiful game’ too!

The FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 Fixture Poster was the focal point of our World Cup display in the library supported by football books and general books about Brazil. A big thanks to those of you who entered into the spirit and filled in the daily scores on our behalf. Well done!
In order to add a little of our own competitiveness we decided to hold a few World Cup related competitions.

Football colouring-in-sheets, World Cup 2014 Qualifiers word search and World Cup Trivia Challenge.
Well done to everyone for supporting our World Cup extravaganza! I was very pleased with the success of our project and hope to have many more throughout the new academic year!

by C. McIntyre

Categories: Competitions, Creativity, Daily life, School Librarians | Leave a comment

The Scottish Book Trust’s ‘Home’ Project, the Library and English

Back in March, I e-mailed our newest English teacher to see if they would be interested in taking part in a library writing activity. They were extremely positive and suggested their S2 class take part in such a project. Great! An opportunity to work with our S2s.

Pupils were asked to write a letter discussing the places, people, pets, buildings, community or fun activities important to them, reminding them of ‘Home’. The class were also asked to write approximately 500 words. One pupil stated he wanted to keep writing, while others saw this as a challenge. However, our pupils have never been afraid of expressing themselves. Pupils choose to share various memories from their Gran’s house, to their own home or their favourite summer holiday. The class were also given the chance to elect a member of staff to write to.

Miss Murphy stated,
‘I was really pleased by the response of my S2 class, as they were all genuinely pleased to be selected for this trial project with the library. It was wonderful to see all the personalities in class come forward.
My class all worked well together, were very hard working and showed a united front when completing this activity. This project gave my pupils the confidence to discuss and write about a subject that is important to them.’

Orginally, I thought about putting the class pieces on the library wall. However, this idea was not as popular as I would have liked because of the subject matter. At first I was really disappointed but not accepting defeat, I began thinking about possible ways to promote the work this class had undertaken without embarrassing them. It would be a waste not to display at least some of our pupils’ fabulous achievements!
For help with this, I spoke to their teacher. She kindly asked the class who would be willing for their work to be displayed in the library and how they felt about being entered into the Scottish Book Trust’s national literacy competition for the rest of Scotland and the world to see.
The response was encouraging with four pupils coming forward to have their letters displayed in the library. I was really pleased that this would not be a wasted opportunity and would give our pupils the recognition for their work they deserved. Like previous personal writing activities I have co-ordinated, it was really lovely to read about what a special community we have here at Taylor.

One of our pupils stated,
‘I thoroughly enjoyed this project as it gave me a chance to share my memories with different people. I also enjoyed the fact that I had to write five hundred words. I believe that this project was a great success and I would love to do it again.”

Many thanks to Miss Murphy who took part in this project and to the S2 pupils who kindly permitted their work to be displayed and submitted to the SBT’s ‘Home project.

Categories: Communication, Competitions, Creativity, Daily life, Events, Interdisciplinary Learning, Literacy | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Roll up! Roll up!

Nicola and I attended the CILIPS Autumn Gathering this week, a rather funky event, full of good ideas and creativity from all library sectors (and more about that later).

But the highlight of the day for me (sorry, CILIPS) was when another school librarian from Perth and Kinross asked,

“Are you anything to do with the Three Ring Circus?”

So, all fellow North Lanarkshire  LRC Managers hold your heads high and get even more examples of the brilliant and vitally important work we’re doing on here, because it’s being noticed across the country and beyond.

And if you think this was an exception, just look at our ClustrMap, which shows our visitors from around the world 🙂

Categories: Advocacy, Daily life, News | Tags: | 2 Comments

The Yoyo Librarian, or When you’re not required …

It’s always intriguing to visit different school libraries, especially when the LRC Manager is supposedly free to have a working lunch or meeting, but the library is still in full flow. On these occasions the Librarian rather resembles a yo-yo as they bounce back ad forth from their chair to assist those in dire need.

Today, the Motivated Librarian is visiting a colleague to work on an on-going initiative to develop motivation and promote literacy.

“Don’t worry,” says the Yoyo Librarian, “there is a class, but I won’t be required to help out so we’ll get plenty of time for discussion.”

Famous last words…


There’s a last minute request for a class to use the LRC (which is already booked). Yoyo Librarian is aware of the vagaries of class teaching and suggests that the Requester visits the existing Booker to see if the booking is still required. The Librarians settle down to work.


There’s a last minute request to cancel the booked class. Yoyo Librarian swings back into action and checks whether the Canceller (previously the Booker) has been visited by the earlier Requester (the answer is no) and then asks the Canceller to visit the earlier Requester to tell them that the LRC was now available should they still want it. The Librarians settle down to work.


A Teacher appears – Oh Yoyo Librarian, do you have that DVD? You know the one? –  to which the answer to both questions is of course yes. The DVD is retrieved and the Librarians settle down to work.


The class requiring library access appear and Yoyo Librarian disappears to help them get logged into appropriate computers, check who is working together and who is supposed to be working together, and sets up software where necessary, remaining on duty until the Teacher, a lovely person, saunters in –  Afternoon, Yoyo Librarian! Isn’t it nice outside? Thought they could use this period for finishing their powerpoint – Yoyo Librarian is now a whirling dervish of password typing and guiding pupils onto working computers. The Librarians settle down to work.


The Lovely Teacher interrupts – So sorry, Yoyo Librarian, but can they print? In colour? – and the Yoyo Librarian is off again to close down all of her own software and log off  her own computer to provide pupils with access to the only computer which still has with colour printer. Pupils ask for help logging off and log onto the Yoyo Librarian’s computer where they proceed to print off thirty full colour powerpoint pages (only discovered after the on-going meeting). The Librarians settle down to work.


The Lovely Teacher is admiring pupils’ work and making suggestions for improvements. – Excuse me, Yoyo Librarian, but can you show the Pupils how to add a hyperlink / copy onto a new page / create a Balamory Karaoke  … – while other Pupils say – Excuse me, Yoyo Librarian, but where can I find information about rallying in Mull / pictures about the Queen at Balmoral  / video about snorkelling in Aberdeen …? –  at which point, with demands piling up, Yoyo Librarian requests the input of  the Motivated Librarian. The Motivated Librarian happily helps out and everyone is content. The Librarians settle down to work on their initiative for the 15 minutes remaining of the period.

boing …

Excuse me, Yoyo Librarian, but I’m ready to print – So am I! – So are we! – and the Yoyo Librarian whirls away to check on the current printing situation, demonstrate spell checkers, log off the first pupil and log on another, add their work to the printer queue , fill the printer with more paper and arranges printing of the final pupils’ work. The Librarians settle down to work..

boing …

The Lovely Teacher comes over  to the Motivated Librarian – Hello, which school are you from? Do you know this Teacher? And this Teacher? –  The bell goes.

boing …

The staff and pupils vanish, and the Yoyo Librarian checks on the printer, completes the pupils’ logging out process, and turns off their computers.

The Librarians agree that it was just as well that no Librarian input was requested for the previous period or they wouldn’t have been able to accomplish so much or help so many pupils. The printer completes its last page and the Librarians log in and and settle down to work on their project for the time they have available until the school closes.

Categories: Daily life | Leave a comment

The Book Thieves

The s1-s2 (aged 12-13) Book Thieves are a keen group of readers. I am trying to weigh up whether or not they can actually read a book without a cup of tea in front of them. Like me. At the moment we are reading and reviewing the Carnegie Medal shortlist, starting with Trash by Andy Mulligan. Trash is about three boys living in a dumpsite in Manila. It goes on to explain from each character’s point of view the events that will shape the course of their futures forever. Will they find a better life? What is the mysterious find they stumble across whilst raking through the trash? Can you still have hope in the most miserable of circumstances?

I am going to make ask them to comment on our Greenfaulds blog at lunchtime. I reckon they’ll get really excited at the idea of their comments being made visible not just to us at Greenfaulds but potentially the WHOLE WORLD!!!


Categories: Book Awards, Books, Curriculum for Excellence, Daily life, Libraries, Literacy | Tags: | Leave a comment

An awful long day …

A colleague from another school told me a story this week. Someone had asked if working in the library didn’t make for ‘an awfully long day’. The Librarian was speechless, so I challenged the Creative Writing Group to come up with some possible replies.

Thought you’d like these two in particular, demonstrating two ends of the spectrum of possible responses.

First, the Zen master:

Without the librarian, there is no library. Without the library, there is no librarian.

and now, the Surrealist:

I’m sorry sir, but have you ever worked in a library before?

Visited one?

There’s a lot more to be done than you could ever dream of. A lot more that must be taken care of. The military history section for one. They’ve got to be bound up, disposed of and replaced every single day. You simply cannot leave them to their own devices, they’ve been terrorising the other sections since the beginning of print. Barbarians the lot of them. The wild animals section is pretty awful too. The rats, mice – we can deal with. The snakes – not so much. They have to be restrained. Have you ever seen your wall bleed words before? Ever had the floorboards give way to reveal a thousand different fictional villains? I have. Occupational hazard. The secret agents are the worst. Breaking in, causing havoc, searching for secrets: they weren’t kidding when they said that man was far worse than anything they could create. And don’t even get me started on the 2nd years.

Nice to be appreciated.

Categories: Creativity, Daily life, Libraries | Tags: | Leave a comment

Tales of a Motivated Librarian II

Today the Motivated Librarian is assisting pupils with research again. The charming intelligent children are grappling with alien concepts.

Motivated Librarian: So, how are you getting on?
Charming Intelligent Child: I can’t really find anything. What’s the guy’s name again?

ML: What have you got written down on your sheet?  You’re looking for Finn McCool
CIC: Who’s he again?

ML: Well, he’s supposed to have been an Irish warrior, but there are lots of Scottish stories about him as well
CIC: But it says here that he was a giant

ML: Yup! Stories get changed about. Some stories say he’s the biggest and strongest fighter there’s ever been and some actually say he was a giant. Folklore does that.
CIC: So, what’s folklore?

ML: It’s the stories that people tell that get handed down from one generation to the next. A bit like legends.

The CIC sits up in horror and looks at the cover of his book, Scottish folklore
CIC: So this isn’t real?
ML: Um, no.

The CIC now turns to the label showing the book’s class number.
CIC: But this is non-fiction, isn’t it? I thought non-fiction was real?
ML: Actually, non-fiction books are information, remember? Not real, not facts, just information.

The CIC slumped back in his seat, and commented at length that his research into Scottish giants had now turned out to be a load of stories, before fixing the Motivated Librarian with a steely gaze.

CIC: So, if this is folklore and folklore are stories, why aren’t these books in the fiction section?

And the ML decided this was not the time to explain her classification policy regarding this particular volume, but instead suggested that she find the Charming Intelligent Child some alternative information for his research.

But as she moved on to the next table, she pondered why the pupils in her care insisted on the True/False, made-up/real definitions for Fiction and Non-fiction, and more importantly, how she could persuade them to accept alternatives that wouldn’t leave them confused about the realism of giants.

Categories: Daily life, Information Literacy, Investigations, Literacy | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Sympathetic comments required please

Click here for more sympathy

This was the sight that faced me this morning.

The on-off leak that has regularly plagued the LRC for the past few years decided to make a bid for freedom, destroying a roof tile, soaking a large chunk of carpet and dropping soggy plaster all over the computer and carefully laid out materials waiting for the first class of the morning.

So, first tasks this morning: reorganise buckets to actually catch drips, and attempt to discover something to remove dried-in soggy plaster (no luck so far – any suggestions?)

My lovely new swamp is right next to the Smartboard and lots and lots of cabling. Funnily enough, I’m rather keen to not turn on anything electrical for the time being. The computer was swiftly removed pending investigation of damage leaving a big manky mess.

Just for fun, the leak returned in the early afternoon, but with a different tempo and pattern. Funky.

Shortly thereafter the server collapsed, leaving us without internet, e-mail or phones.

And that’s when it started to snow.

Roll on tomorrow 🙂

Categories: Daily life | Tags: | 2 Comments

Tales of a Motivated Librarian

Once upon a time there was a Motivated Librarian who was determined to help a class complete some research for their presentations.

On the first day, she reminded them all about brainstorming and keywords and skimming and scanning in a fun way that made them laugh and share ideas and work well together while simultaneously ensuring that the concepts were well bedded in, and was content that they had understood the benefits.

On the second day, she challenged them to improve their note making abilities with a story of past times that made them ponder and ask questions, before outlining the numerous possibilities that they could choose to research, and was gratified to hear young voices share their enthusiasm for this work and how cool it was. And the class decided who to work with and what they would choose to research.

On the third day, she indicated that the class should brainstorm their choice of topic and think of some useful keywords before beginning their research so that everyone would know what they were supposed to be looking for. And she provided them with paper for this purpose.

And she explained to the class that half of each team could search on the computer, while the other half used the books. And then she asked all the pupils to return from the computer suite to complete those first tasks before beginning their research, like she had asked them to do only seconds before. And then she asked them to retrieve the paper that they had left at the computers.

And then she answered their questions and explained again about keywords.

Then the Motivated Librarian spoke to the pupils using the books and asked them to print out a list of resources from the catalogue to assist in their searching (having previously checked the entire LRC stock for the topics in question, researched and purchased additional useful material and spent hours adding relevant keywords for said investigations onto each catalogue entry).

And that’s where the fun really began, because the children, charming and intelligent as they were, were also determined to gather assistance from the Motivated Librarian, and asked lots and lots and lots of questions.

For example:

Charming Intelligent Child 1: Miss, I don’t think there’s any books on my topic
Motivated Librarian: But there’s five on the screen. What did you type in?

CIC1: I typed in ‘Scottish witches’, but there’s nothing here about witches
ML : But the books wouldn’t have appeared otherwise.

CIC1: But none of the books are called ‘Scottish witches’
ML: But they don’t need to have witches in the title to include information about witches. This one here is called Scottish mysteries. That should include lots of weird stuff, including witches. See,  look at the keywords.

CIC1 (points to the cover image on the screen):  But that picture doesn’t look like it’s about witches. It looks like it’s about ghosts.
ML: But you can’t guess the contents of the book from the front cover.

And eventually the Motivated Librarian persuaded him that the books on the screen were useful, by taking the Charming Intelligent Child to the shelves and showing him the chapter on witches inside the book. And she explained about keywords again and he was happy and went away to read.

Then the Motivated Librarian was approached by a second Charming Intelligent Child.

CIC2: Miss, I just thought you should know there’s a mistake
ML: Where?

CIC2: On the catalogue
ML: What sort of mistake?

CIC2: It’s got two books at the same number
ML: But that’s ok. Remember I explained that the class number refers to the subject, so you can have lots of books at the same number.

CIC2: So you can have lots of books with the same number?
ML: Yes.

And the Charming Intelligent Child was somewhat bemused but accepted the explanation of the Motivated Librarian, who grabbed a second to fix the printer before enquiring if she could assist a third Charming Intelligent Child who was sitting looking glumly at the computer screen before him.

CIC3: There’s nothing on Sawney Bean
ML: Did you get a book list from the catalogue?

CIC3: Yes (and shows it). There’s nothing there.
ML:  What about this one, ‘The cannibal family of Sawney Bean’

CIC3: But I don’t need to know about his family

And the Motivated Librarian reassured him that there would indeed be useful information about Mr Bean Senior in the book and helped him to retrieve it, only to intercept Charming Intelligent Child 4, wandering amongst the shelves. And the CIC sighed that he could not locate any books with numbers on them, so the Motivated Librarian showed him that his book list told him to look in Non-fiction and pointed out the signs saying Non-fiction.

And then Motivated Librarian ushered the Charming Intelligent Child in the correct direction, uniting him with a useful book before bumping into walking pile of twelve books.  The Motivated Librarian suggested to the CIC behind the books that she could only read one book at a time, but the Charming Intelligent Child replied that she had just spent half an hour finding them so could she not look at them now … please?

And the Motivated Librarian allowed her to take three books, which remained firmly closed until the bell went five minutes later.

And the Charming Intelligent Children returned the books to the shelves, as a kindness to the Motivated Librarian, rather than leaving them on the desk as she had requested, which meant another half hour reordering them for the next class who would be expecting to find them in the right places the following day.

And then she retrieved the discarded printouts from the catalogue so that the Charming Intelligent Pupils would not have to recreate them on their next visit.

Finally the weary Motivated Librarian evaluated the lesson, wrote a short report and made some amendments to plans for future research lessons.

Categories: Daily life, Information Literacy, Investigations | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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