Beaumont library is a vibrant facility that enhances and supports learning across the curriculum. It also offers a welcoming environment for students who are looking for a place to read, relax and retreat momentarily from the rigours of the school day.
The library team
Mrs Mayer-Khan (Head Librarian) Mrs Hicks and Mrs Shepard (Assistant Librarians)
8.30-16.00 Monday to Thursday and 8.30-15.30 on Fridays.
The library remains open beyond the end of the school day for students who wish to complete homework. These sessions are overseen by a member of the teaching support staff.
Homework club runs from 15.30 – 16.30 on Mondays to Thursdays.
Beaumont library on social media
The library has a very active blog and Twitter page. This is where we publish library news, information on events and author visits, book reviews etc. Please take a look!
All students and staff are issued with a card which has a four-digit number and barcode to access their library account. Students can borrow a maximum of three books on their account at any one time. Books are issued for a three-week period. We do not fine students if their books become overdue but do follow a process in line with the school’s behaviour diamond to retrieve overdue books.
Eclipse Micro Librarian System (MLS)
We use an automated library system called Eclipse. This integrates our catalogue, stock management, overdues, circulation etc. Students can access Eclipse from home via the Portal section of the school website, via mobile devices using the Micro Librarian app, or by clicking on the link below. This allows them to browse the library catalogue. For more specific functions, including submitting book reviews or reserving a book, students must log into Eclipse by entering the four-digit code on their library card into the Login box on the Eclipse home page. This number serves as both user name and password.
Student librarians and parent helpers
We encourage students to help in the library. We recruit student librarians who are trained to use the Eclipse system to issue and return books. Sixth formers also come during the lunch break to shelve books and do other tasks that keep the library running smoothly. Alongside the students, we are fortunate to have a team of parent volunteers who generously give up their time to help in the library.
What you will find in the library
Beaumont library offers a wide range of multi-media resources to support and encourage learning across the school curriculum.
We currently have approximately 7150 fiction books, catering for a wide range of reading abilities. These include a selection of graphic novels to engage more reluctant readers.
Non-fiction books and resources
We currently have approximately 7950 non-fiction books. These are selected to support all the subjects offered at Beaumont. These include: English, Science, Modern Foreign Languages, PE, Art, Drama, Economics, Geography, History, Computing, RE, Design and Technology.
We subscribe to Issues which is a series of resource books examining a wide range of contemporary topics. They are produced specifically for schools and provide key facts and articles on social issues such as bullying, animal rights, crime and justice and global poverty. Alongside this, we subscribe to Complete Issues – Understanding Our World. These books also provide safe and reliable information, websites, graphs and statistics. These publications are used to encourage students to develop their research skills and our pupils use them, for example, when taking part in the school’s annual Public Speaking Challenge.
Print journals and periodicals
For our Year 12 and 13 students we subscribe to several Philip Allan Review Magazines in hard-copy. These include: Biological Sciences Review, Business Review, Chemistry Review, Economic Review, English Review, Geography Review, Modern History Review, PE Review, Physics Review, RS Review and Sociology Review. We also carry print issues of EMagazine for A-level English students and History Today for A-level History students.
Alongside the hard-copies, our students can access the above journals, Issues and Complete Issues online, both current and archived editions. The passwords and direct links to these resources are available to students via the library staff or subject teachers.
Philip Allan Reviews: https://my.dynamic-learning.co.uk
Issues online: http://www.independence.co.uk/
Complete Issues online: https://www.completeissues.co.uk/
The Eclipse library system provides our students with links to an extensive range of safe, reliable and school-targeted websites. When searching for online resources on Eclipse, students can browse a list of available websites but will only be able to follow the links and access the websites if they have logged into Eclipse by entering the four-digit code on their library card into the Login box on the Eclipse home page. The number serves as both user name and password.
We have several computers in the library for students to use during library lessons, as well as morning and lunchtime breaks.
The library owns a small number of Kindles. These are typically offered to our book club students for reading fiction titles.
We have around 150 age-appropriate DVDs available for students to borrow. The selection includes DVDs supporting the curriculum (Shakespeare etc) as well as many films just for leisure!
Stocking the library
As head librarian, Mrs Mayer-Khan treats the choosing stock very much as a collaborative process. She consults library colleagues, subject leaders and the wider staff to ensure that the library offers relevant resources. We also welcome and encourage suggestions from students, particularly when choosing fiction titles.
Accelerated Reader and reading sessions in the library
In Years 7 and 8, all students have a dedicated weekly reading period in the library. Students’ reading is supported by the Renaissance Place Accelerated Reader (AR) system. AR is a computer programme that measures each student’s reading ability and helps them choose and read books at a suitable level. The AR system categorises books into levels of difficulty, based on the complexity of the text. This enables teachers and library staff to match books to each student’s individual reading ability, ensuring they make the greatest progress with their reading skills. The programme offers a comprehensive catalogue of book quizzes which measure a student’s comprehension and allow us to monitor their independent reading practice and progress. Students who score 100% on their book quizzes receive a star on our AR display board in the library.
Lessons in the library
Due to the space and the number of computers available, the library can be used for lessons during the school day. As well as the Accelerated Reader reading sessions here, teachers also run research-based lessons requiring non-fiction resources, for example, history projects, EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) work and public speaking. Our SEN (Special Educational Needs) department often use the library to run sessions for students working in small groups.
Books and beyond
Beaumont Book Clubs and encouraging reading
In the library, we have a range of activities to encourage our students to read for pleasure. Mrs Mayer-Khan runs lunchtime book clubs for students to read and share their thoughts and ideas. The emphasis of these clubs is on having fun and developing a joy of reading. Mrs Mayer-Khan devises games and activities that always prompt boisterous sessions! Book club students are also given the opportunity to interview visiting writers.
We follow various national young adult book awards, including the Children’s Book Award and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. These offer a fantastic range of resources to inspire readers. Beaumont library is a roomy, vibrant space which is ideal for hosting author visits and other book events. To celebrate World Book Day 2016, we welcomed ninety-four Year 7 students into the library to take part in a nationwide attempt to break the Guinness World Record for ‘the most people participating in simultaneous book quizzes”. The quiz tested the students on a wide selection of books, characters and covers. We were delighted to be included in the 6388 students who took part in the quiz across the country and set a new world record!
The library also plays a key role in the school’s Beaumont Reads initiative. At the start of each academic year, we choose a young adult fiction title and encourage as many students, family members and staff as possible to read, review and discuss that book. This scheme is led by our literacy co-ordinator and supported with activities across different subject areas. Our current Beaumont Reads book is The Giver by Lois Lowry. We display all the reviews in the library and around the school.
Challenging our readers
The library has collaborated on the school’s Branch Out With Your Reading initiative which is designed to challenge our outstanding readers in Year 7 and 8. The English department identifies students whose vocabulary and comprehension is of a sufficiently high standard to allow them to tackle books at GCSE level. These students are invited to take part in the scheme and to stretch themselves by reading fiction from a wide range of titles selected by the English department and the librarians. This selection includes classics, modern classics, young adult and adult fiction. There is also a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde category. In this section we have suggested a number of modern fiction titles that explore the same themes or are constructed in a similar way to R L Stevenson’s classic novella. The aim of this selection is to introduce the students to the ideas behind Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde before they begin to study it at GCSE.
Other library initiatives have included a Read Around the World reading challenge run in collaboration with the MFL department. Students and staff participated by reading books written by overseas authors or books set in other countries. We are currently running a Checklist Reading Challenge which aims to encourage our readers to explore and read books in genres they wouldn’t normally choose.
As often as possible, we arrange for writers of young adult fiction to visit us at Beaumont. During these visits, the authors address the students, talk about their work and the inspiration behind their books. These sessions are always popular with the students and are an excellent way to spark interest in books and engage students in reading. Recent visiting writers have included Tamsyn Murray, Nikki Sheehan, Nicky Singer, Matt Dickinson, Ali Sparkes and Sarah Crossan, whose verse-novel One won the CILIP Carnegie Medal in 2016.
St Albans Schools Book Award and working with other school libraries
We are in contact with many other school libraries in Hertfordshire. Mrs Mayer-Khan is also on the committee of the Hertfordshire School Librarian Association (SLA) an organisation promoting the development of libraries www.sla.org.uk We meet regularly to share good practice and to discuss emerging trends in the profession. We also attend local librarian meetings to network, socialise and exchange information as well as events organised by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) www.cilip.org.uk
Beaumont School is proud to be taking part in the inaugural St Albans Schools Book Award. The Beaumont librarians, alongside librarians from other local schools, have considered a selection of young adult fiction, aimed principally at Year 7 and 8 readers. We have narrowed this down to a shortlist of three books which will be considered for the award: The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne, River of Ink – Genesis by Helen Dennis and A Seven Letter Word by Kim Slater. Students who wish to participate in the scheme must read all three books. There are a range of activities based around the shortlist, including the chance to design a logo for the award, which we hope will become an annual event. Students who take part will also have the opportunity to join other local schools at a Discussion Day at St Columba’s College to debate the three books and vote for an overall winner.
We run regular book-based competitions and reward schemes to engage students and encourage participation in library events. While we do run silent study periods during some morning and lunch breaks, students also use the library to socialise (quietly!) and play chess.