Rethinking information in the school library

So we’ve always been a bit different in our school library. Not different for the sake of being different but different in responding to our students needs and remembering that when it comes to information, reading and libraries there is nothing that is set in stone. No methodology, no process or way of doing things that cannot be changed or adapted to match and meet the needs of our users.

It is with this knowledge and understanding that we have gone through a process of rethinking how students access information and what we can do to make this as easy and successful as possible.

In doing this we needed to think about those things that are providing barriers to the students accessing information successfully and willingly. In knowing that there is nothing set in stone is quite refreshing as it means that everything is up for grabs. This means that we have a blank canvas where we can put the students needs first instead of trying to force them to conform to an outdated model.

This is not only in terms of how they can go about finding information but also about how they can access information too. We thought long and hard about all these things and spent a lot of time talking to students and teachers and watching how students find, pick and view information. An idea that everyone working in school libraries should spend time doing anyway.

From this refreshing viewpoint we started to work out what it was we wanted to achieve and what we wanted to achieve was a couple of different things. The first was a way of organising our stock to make it not only as simple as possible but also organised in such a way that students want to use this type of information instead of going straight to the internet. This was one of the biggest issues and one that from talking to the students you can understand. The internet is seen as an easy alternative, even if we know it isn’t, students perceive it to be. So the question becomes ‘how can we make accessing information in books as simple as possible?’

Now, this is where I may lose some people and don’t get me wrong I do really like Dewey. However I honestly feel that if we stick to certain systems ‘just because’ then we can’t go about actually making anything better. If you want some more of my opinions on Dewey then please see this past blog post. It is also interesting that a lot of the librarians I’ve had comments back from are more than willing to change their fiction collection and ordering system and stickering process to the extreme to ‘make it easier’ for students to access yet won’t even consider doing this in the non-fiction collection. It seems that there is almost a ‘precious’ nature around Dewey and that it ‘belongs’ to libraries and librarians so shouldn’t even be changed?

I won’t go into any more detail about Dewey except to say that we shouldn’t let anything limit our students from being able to access information successfully and willingly.

From our conversations with students and our observations of students we felt that the way stock was organised in the library was by no means conducive to students wanting to and being able to find information quickly and successfully. This became more than just signage it was about the fundamentals to how a library was organised.

At the time we were in a very lucky position where small amounts of money was being made available to improve the library facilities (as well as bidding for lots of different pots). Being a comprehensive state school this didn’t mean a bucket full of money or a complete rebuild. What it did mean though was that we had an opportunity, if we were clever, to be able to doing special to improve how students access and use information in the library.

As mentioned above this was going to include a new way to organise the books in our library and to allow access to information in very different ways. Many people have already heard me talk about our new model and I have been lucky enough to run numerous training course across the country and Europe on information searching and gathering in education sharing this, however I will recover it here for anyone that doesn’t know.

In schools a students life is split up into numerous sections in a very specific way. This is down to what year group they are in, which term it is and what subject they are currently studying. We therefore already had a model of information that students are not only used to but how they actually think. It therefore seems silly not to take advantage of this when we are trying to organise the information we have.

This began our thinking in trying to utilise this. We started to think what this might look like in terms of sorting our books and the result was to simply split stock up relating to the year group it was studied in, the term and importantly the subject that was covering it. It was one of those moments that you think to yourself ‘why haven’t we done this before, it’s just so obvious!’ To achieve this we needed to know specifically what was being studied across the curriculum and when, not necessarily a easy feat to achieve but one made easier by the fact that we were also going through a whole information literacy revolution in school where we were changing the idea of homework and moving it towards research and preparation for learning and encouraging more learning outside of the classroom . This is also set through our information literacy model OPUS (found here). Through this departments created subject overviews which were perfect to be able to make available to parents but also were to be used to allow us to know how to organise the stock.

We specifically purchased the right types of shelving (from Peters suppliers in Birmingham their ‘4-Square’ unit) which allowed us to create 4 shelves on each side. On this we were able to put the subject overview and signage at the top and then create a shelf for each of the KS3 year groups. We decided to stick for KS3 as there was a lot more rigidity in the KS3 curriculum to make this process easier. From just this small change and restructure the amount of non-fiction books that have been issued to students has dramatically increased. Books that were never touched have suddenly become extremely useful because students can easily access them and the information, almost quicker than logging on to the computers! Due to the fact that we do prep students are being conditioned to think ahead in their learning so we have also noticed that books are going out ahead of time as students read up on what they are going to be learning in preparation.

Alongside changing the way students access physical books we also wanted to look into how they go about accessing other types of material and information. We wanted to provide them with the opportunity to access e-material and online resources in as easier a way as possible. To allow this to happen we introduced a number of devices around the library. These had access solely to our library catalogue, to our ebook lending facility as well as devices where they could access a range of apps and the internet.

These have proved successful for a number of different reasons. The ones that we have allowed access to the internet and apps have further promoted our desire for students to use more info lit skills. With an e-device students cannot copy and paste information. It requires them to read, make notes and so their learning is much deeper because of this. As the devices are a lot quicker to load than the computers students are choosing to use these over the computers and because of this we are getting more students, sub-consciously improving their information literacy and note-taking skills.

The other devices dotted around the library are giving students quicker and better quality access to information and allowing them to be more independent in their use of the library and their studies. So much so we have extended this into our reading for pleasure areas by making kindles, talking book stations etc available to students to use for reading for pleasure. Again this is giving students more options in how they can access books and the result is that many more students are reading because these are available for them.

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Lancaster’s Reading Continuum

Lancaster's Reading Continuum

So I’ve written a lot about research around reading and how individuals read and the kinds of things you need to put in place to create reading cultures in schools. You can read these articles here, here, here, here and also here, as well as littered through the blog.

To extend upon my thoughts regarding a hierarchy of reading and how the activate the reading brain I’ve been looking at reading in terms of a continuum, i.e. a continuous sequence of improvement. Within this there seems to be three distinct stages that a reader goes through as they first learn to read and then become proficient in the act of. The first stage is the early reading stage, earmarked for 4-9 as young people move through beginning, emerging and developing  sub stages. Each of these can also be furthered categorised by the behaviours within them. As you can see overtime and as the individual moves through the stages they grow in ability and independence in reading until you get to the point where you have an individual that is highly able and independent in all aspects of their reading.

I have taken my thoughts on the reading brain and have placed these within this model. Therefore the main parts that create a successful reader; Knowledge, Curiosity, Cognition and Grit have behaviours attached to each of the sub stages. Within this it is then possible to be able to see where a student is with their reading and potentially what it might be that is holding them back (explained in this post about the reader at a crossroads).

As the child moves through the stages they will encounter the second stage between 10-13 and will travel through the expanding, bridging and fluent stages of being able to read. This marks the transition from learning to read to reading to learn as well as the primary-secondary transition. It is worth noting at this point that this is where a child may struggle in making the transition. If, for instance, there is something holding them back in their reading abilities then they will be caught in the limbo between stages requiring intervention to allow them to make the step between the two. It is at this point that this distinction needs to be made in what the root cause is before any intervention can take place. Looking at the behaviours associated with the key success criteria (Knowledge, Curiosity, Cognition and Grit) will give you a clear idea as the why exactly they are unable to make this step up.

Once a young person has traversed their way through each of the sub stages in this ‘reading to learn’ section they move on the third and final stage of reading. This final stage is where the reader gains mastery over the skills and passes between proficient, connecting and independent. Although I suggest that the age range for this is 14-18 it is important to note that all the age ranges are an ‘average’. Young people move through reading at their own pace and just because a young person may seem behind because they haven’t moved through these stages doesn’t mean there is anything ‘wrong’. However, it is also worth noting that not all readers will progress onto this final stage. Many will plateau at stage 2 and never move on. As mentioned stage 3 is about mastery and many of the skills are akin to those needed for GCSE and A-Level but not all young people pass these or undertake them (A-Level). These individuals may not be what we would class as ‘readers’: they have the ability to process texts and to gain information from them but this is the ultimate limit of their skills. In continuing to the final stage individuals need to be regular readers; they need to access a wide range of texts for different reasons; they need to be able to connect what they have read to other things they have read or know and they need to be independent in their reading. This is way more than being independent in their choices etc it is more along the lines of knowing where to find what they need, how to go about reading ‘around subjects’ and what to do if they come across something they don’t comprehend. These are definitely a lot higher level skills that some young people will never learn to use or want to use.

Utilising this model allows us to track our students in school and see where they fit into something like this. Using the behaviour criteria we have a distinct reason why they are where they are and what we can do to move them on through the stages.
Beyond this it is a understanding of how individuals read that can be used to explain the process to a non specialist. We are using it for both these reasons as well as a guide for parents in helping them to better understand the things they might be able to do to help their child.

As far as tracking goes we are already utilising it and it is giving us a much better picture of the students we are working with.

The impact of literacy across the curriculum

 

VENNs

One of the things we have been pioneering over the last couple of years is the idea of intersectionality. This is best summed up by thinking about the weakest and most vulnerable groups in your school and how these students intersect across different areas. For instance the groups that we focus on in our school are students eligible for Pupil Premium, SEND and students highlighted as having weak literacy.

Between these three groups we cover all the vulnerable students in each year group and as individuals in charge of PP, SEND and literacy we will each be working with these students in different ways. However, if we were to do this solely as individuals (as all other schools do) then the potential ‘harm’ that may be done to the student is massive. We may all involve them in different intervention strategies, give them multiple targets to work towards, each have a different dialogue with the parents etc etc.

But, in working together we are able to coordinate what needs to be done for these students in such a way that we can benefit them as much as possible. Instead of us taking them out of lessons for all the different interventions we want them to have or setting them loads of different targets that they have to try and remember we can work together to agree on the best pathway for the student.

In the diagram above you can see an example of one of our year groups and our intersectionality work. Each circle represents a one of our foci, SEND, literacy or PP. As you can see there are a number of students that come under more than one of these sections and some that intersect with all three. These are clearly students that we need to be working together with to coordinate the best pathway for them to make the most progress.

This is great evidence and tracking but also a very visual way to explain to other people the students we are working with and the numbers involved in each year group. However, from a literacy perspective this work has been invaluable not only as a literacy coordinator but also in showing staff the impact that literacy has across the school.  As you can see from the VENN at the top there is a massive link between weak literacy and SEND. 95% of students that have SEND are either categorized as this and appear on the register because they have weak literacy or because their SEND need is affecting their literacy. It therefore seems criminal for these two areas to not be working closely together. There is then the strong link between PP and weak literacy. Although it is a generalisation it does hold for a large percentage of PP students. Due to their low socio-economic background they are more likely to have literacy areas of weakness.

From these VENNs I then also produce a further piece of evidence to show the furthering impact of literacy in the classroom and it’s impact in behaviour. 3 times a year we produce data for all our students and these are contained within reports for parents. This is similar to the majority of schools with small nuances I would imagine. One of the things that teachers give students is an overall grade for their Attitude to Learn. This is made up from a number of different factors including behaviour, organisation, prep etc. They are graded from 1-4, same as the ofsted criteria, again similar to a number of schools. Using this data I then highlight students that are receiving either a 3 or 4 in more than 3 subjects. This is also cross-referenced against the number of times they have been ‘on-called’ (taken out of lessons for disruptive behaviour) and a new category is created in the VENN. This then highlights the students that have the ‘worst’ behaviour. In the VENN below you can see an example of this and can especially see the potential link between weak literacy and poor behaviour. For all the VENNs I produce on the reverse of the overall figures there is a breakdown by student name so we know exactly who the students are. I know that there is a potential that a student’s poor literacy in a lesson can affect their behaviour so part of my role is to make sure that they are catered for with the skills to be able to access the lesson but also with the correct strategies within the lesson. These strategies are importantly for the teacher as well as the student.

Through the VENNs we can see the students that need the most amount of support and where their literacy is impacting on their ability to learn in the lessons and so the strategies for the teacher, alongside the knowledge about the students weakness, helps them to adapt their teaching to cater for the student. This, especially when coupled with our ‘good literacy in the classroom is just good teaching and learning’ mantra means that these students shouldn’t slip into the category of weak literacy and poor behaviour.

The other benefit is that we can also see the students in the top category (poor behaviour) when linked to on-call data, and the final piece of information we put on the sheets; whether they are on target in English or not, we can see whether there are any whose bad behaviour is starting to affect their literacy. We want to be able to help these students before it becomes too late. This means that this information is valuable beyond our use and starts being used by heads of year and other pastoral leaders as well as senior leaders on charge of behaviour.

Tracked over the course of the year we can also see how the students move between the categories and so this allows us to prove the impact of the work we are doing as we see students move (or stay) out of the negative categories due to the work we have done with them.

Obviously this is just one small part of the work and tracking we do with students. It does however show the strong link between literacy and the classroom and how a student’s literacy can affect the learning in the classroom, further intensifying the argument that literacy needs to be tackled across the curriculum and not just in patches.

VENN

Activating the Reading Brain

The reading brain

So, in my previous post about mapping the reading brain (here) I talked about some of the research I had undertaken in determining what it takes in an individual for them be a successful reader. Similar to my idea of a hierarchy of reading (here) but instead of being about what we can do to make reading fully integrated it is about what must be happening within an individual child for them to become a successful reader.

 

Since publishing this post I had a number of schools approach me looking at how this might be something they could use and implement in their schools. I have had some really good, positive conversations with SLTs and literacy coordinators and SENCos  on the things that they might be able to do in their schools to help every child become a successful reader. It’s also sobering to see that it is both primary and secondary schools that feel this model can be used to further the amount and quality of reading of their students.

In looking at how a model such as this might be able to be used within a school we’ve taken each of the areas and looked at the types of things that might need to occur for that section to be activated within the student.  This could be an activity or something else that is the spur for this section. In working with these schools we’ve also discovered that there are some things that they are already doing and thinking about but that these aren’t as explicit as they should be.

 

There is no particular place to start with a model like this as all the elements are just as important as each other however I’m going to begin with the knowledge section as I believe this to be about the bedrock of creating successful readers.

knowledge

 

When talking about Knowledge the part this plays in creating successful readers can be seen in the choices our weaker readers make. Prior knowledge of a subject gives an understanding and comprehension that cannot be underestimated. It is this velcro, this stuff that we as readers use to turn the ideas of text into an understanding of what those ideas are. The full intentions of the author, with this understanding which we can only infer, become ‘laid bare’ in the text for us. This is true of pretty much all fiction where the author doesn’t make everything explicit, it is a vehicle, and a needed one in fiction otherwise all stories would be extremely tedious. Weaker readers, when they do select books, and this is also true for reluctant readers, choose books that they have an understanding and knowledge of. So for instance the sport mad weak reading boys pick football books. OK a bit of a generalisation however you can see the truth in that reading to those students is something that is hard anyway so they might as well read a book that they get, that they understand the terminology and can infer meaning from.

This knowledge though can only come from having a life. From having experiences as we grow up, from coming across as many different things as possible. You can see where this is heading as I’m sure you know from your own school where a student has clearly lacked this (for whatever reason) and the impact it has on their reading. So what can be do, how can we activate this in a student and help them maintain to this to become a successful reader?

To start with we need to get an understanding of our students as individuals. What do they like, what are their interests? We need to build profiles of them as readers linking together the soft, non cognitive areas of attitudes (my gold dust in reading improvement) and also their abilities within reading such as reading ages etc. We need to make sure that we are providing a range of resources for students to be able to access. Not just different types of books but also different ways of accessing reading. We need to help students create and have new experiences, to build upon their velcro and to give them more of that ‘stuff’ that’s going to help them make connections.

Curiosity

After Knowledge comes Curiosity. For a student to be successful in reading they need to have in them the want to read. This is really the fundamental of the non-cognitive skills with the leading light being that of attitude. If a student does not want to read, no matter how proficient they are, they will not do it. This attitude leads to a curiosity to find out more, to know more, to read more. It is with questioning and wonder that a student will become successful in achieving this but how can we achieve this in our schools? How can we foster this with our students? The first thing is to truly understand a student’s weakness is and the reason why their attitude is as it is. Is there something that is holding them back or something that has led to them having a negative attitude. By analysing and assessing these soft skills, or fundamentally the non-cognitive skills we can begin to put things into place to make an improvement. Whether this knowledge needs to specific interventions or an ability for us to promote different things in different ways to the individual depends on many things: how we work, our contexts in our schools, the time we have to work with students etc but the knowledge that we gain from doing this tracking leads us to what we can do.

Another important thing is to make sure that the school is promoting and disseminating a love of reading for pleasure. Now, in my opinion this is best done through a library and librarian where all types of reading is allowed and celebrated, where reading is promoted across the school and in every classroom and a culture is built where reading is not only celebrated but is also accepted as the norm. This article doesn’t aim to say whether a library is the best place for this to happen: there are schools where a library and librarian is in place and this doesn’t happen and also schools where a library and librarian aren’t present where it does happen. For me, a library is the most obvious and visible place (the thing with reading is that it needs to be visible) however I do not wish to ascribe to schools the method which they should use (maybe another article at another time).

 

Cognition

The next step on our way to activating the reading brain in our individuals in schools is all about cognition. We have talked already about the importance of non-cognitive skills and especially that of attitude. But alongside this, if we are to truly activate an individual into reading, we need to give them the skills to be able to physically read. For so many students this is the backbone to comments that start ‘I don’t like reading’. What is behind this is the fundamental ‘I don’t like the process of reading I have been through’ or ‘I don’t like what I associate reading to be’. What is the student at a reading crossroads and what can you do about it knowing what the barriers are?

Is reading given a chance in the curriculum across all subjects or is it only ever associated with English. Are opportunities given to promote the benefits of reading and the enjoyment that reading can give as well as giving a positive interpretation of what reading actually is?

This is where the ‘literacy’ element of reading comes into play. This is where the school needs to promote the links between literacy and good teaching and learning across the whole school. In a classroom where a teacher not only understands the weaknesses some of our students face concerning literacy but has strategies in place to help them, differentiate etc and allow them access to the learning the promotion of reading skills is explicit. Knowing that some students need reading chunked as they process words slowly, or that they have trouble decoding so bullet pointing reading can be of real benefit, is extremely useful for both the teacher and the student. This is what literacy skills across the curriculum really entails and what ultimately makes a difference.

To make this happen though we need to track the students to know this and to be able to share this information. We also need to think about how we can use our knowledge of our students’ weaknesses to be able to help them in different ways. Do we think this is going to be via 121 intervention. What is the benefit of this? Are we taking students out of lessons they enjoy/are capable of, just to give them more of what they know they cannot do? Or, are we trying to improve the quality of teaching in our school so instead of having an intervention for 1 hour a week extra they are receiving help and guidance in all their lessons so 25+ hours a week?

 

Grit

 

Finally, the last piece of the jigsaw that is activating the reading brain is that of grit. How we can have young people sustain reading? How can we keep them on the reading curve and make sure that when they fall off they get straight back on? Young people need to have this resilience built into them around reading if they are to be successful but what things can we do to help make this happen? This is where we need to think back again to perception to those ‘soft’ non-cognitive skills, to young people’s perception around reading. We need to continually praise and challenge students with their reading and there needs to be someone in school is invested solely in the students’ reading outcomes. Do you have someone like this in your school? Do you have someone that is committed to engaging young people into reading and wants them to continually improve. More importantly do they this under the guise of allowing students the ability to see that they can read and that they can enjoy reading?

 

In activating the reading brain in our young people we need to have all these things going on all the time. As a school we need to realise exactly what it is that is stopping from young people from reading in the first place and then put things in place to break down the barriers that exist. We are all capable of being successful at reading though some need more support than others. Fundamentally, these are the things that make a difference. These are the points that when encouraged, nurtured and grown will have an impact and will create readers.

Inspirational Libraries don’t need lots of money

It’s brilliant to see pictures and write-ups of school libraries in the national press, hell anywhere really and the Guardian, with it’s reach is a great place for it to be (see here for the article)  However, it seems nowadays inspirational school libraries have to go hand in hand with lots of money, new buildings and refits and most likely be part of a new build academy. But when we look at the figures this only accounts for such a tiny amount of schools. It’s also worth noting that a building that looks ‘fresh and innovative’ doesn’t actually make an inspirational one it takes a lot more and the a lot of this comes from the person in charge. In the article some of the schools mentioned have made their librarians redundant and have removed large amounts of stock, putting them in the school’s basement.

The majority of schools don’t have the money to create what is now becoming seen as inspirational. With tight budgets and bigger restrictions on them, the loss of Building Schools for the Future money and too many school buildings needing desperate repairs (most schools in the country are 1960’s builds that weren’t meant to last past 25 years) there is no money for schools to spend on resourcing a library.

If we’re not careful we’re going to find ourselves in a position where librarians and schools know they can’t replicate this view of ‘inspirational’ so do not even try. However there is so much they can do and achieve on a limited budget and inspiration doesn’t need a rebuild or tens of thousands of pounds. What it really needs is very different and what inspirational can be is just as different too.

Over the last year we achieved something akin to this though our library space (note we are still a library as really every other name given to the space is what a library actually is). We are a state funded school and a truly comprehensive one. We take students from a large locality, have a pan of 225 and a roll of around 1400 with 25 feeder primary schools. We focus on the more academic subjects rather than BTECs and do not attempt to do anything ‘creative’ with our curriculum and learning to cater for low aspiration/ability (eg project based learning etc) we expect the best from our students regardless of their ability and adjust the support to allow them to excel.

The library is an extremely busy space. We have upwards of 100 students using it for a multitude of things on a break and a lunch and spend a lot of time listening to and working with students in understanding how they want to use the space and what they require it to be. Even though the work our library has had done on it was completed last year and over the summer the planning has been going on a lot longer through these discussions with students and staff. We’ve also made sure that we’ve kept abreast of wider school issues such as the impact of an increased pan, the need for more resources etc etc. All of this has enabled us to put a case forward for different bits to be completed.

One of these first things was to encourage the school to see the benefit of employing 1-2-1 tutors through the Pupil Premium funding as members of staff rather than agency staff to work with weak literacy and numeracy students. Alongside this we argued that the library would be a good base for them but that they would need an office space to work from. Coupled with expanding our computer room and creating a larger ‘research room’ with new technologies available to students we argued this would enable larger classes to use the space and solve the problem the school was having of finding bookable computer spaces. We even doubled the argument by stating that this would help fill the need, that had been grown from an increase in 6th form numbers, of supporting year 12&13 students during free periods with research help and resources.

In knowing that these were issues within the school we were able to argue the case that this small restructure of existing space rather than expensive alternatives was a much better option. This resulted in the school bidding for a small amount of money from the DFE (that all business managers should know about) to do a small amount of cosmetic work to expand the computer room and also create an office space. We already had 14 computers in this room and knew we didn’t want to spend money on any more plus laptops weren’t a route we wanted to go down. Laptops require more upkeep, need replacing more often than desktops and have too many issues related to them that would cause more admin and expense than was necessary. Instead we opted to introduce ipads, and other tablets into the room so classes and students could have a mix of equipment to access. We also knew from our own research that students who used ipads were more likely to use a number of information literacy strategies and skills than using a desktop or laptop as they could not copy and paste information or print straight from the web. Tablets require the students to make notes on what they are searching for and so their learning is much richer because of this. This has had a very positive impact on students’ skills as well as the quality of the work they are producing. These devices we paid for via a bid to our PTFA who were more than willing to help out with such a project that would enhance the learning of the students.

This wasn’t the end of the improvements either as we also put together a proposal of how we can maximise the space of the library and the stock we have. This was by removing our very old shelving units and purchasing some more durable, adaptive ones that could be moved and repositioned. This, for us, was a really big factor. The way we run our library is led by the students and staff that use it. We adapt as much as we can to their needs and how they want the space to be used. By having furniture that allows us to do this means that we continue to do this but with even more success. Again, we were trying to do this on a tight budget that would be feasible to achieve.

The shelving also had to be reflective of how we required the space in the library to be used so not only did we need it to be movable we also needed it to be placed in the room in such a way that it was conducive to how students used it. Previously the room was ‘split’ into different areas by the shelving however students wanted to have a stronger feeling of space with more of a flow. They wanted to have more individual seating for reading and they also wanted to be able to read with their own devices as well as the option to access devices from the library. A lot of the comments we had from students also revolved around the ‘feel of a bookshop but with the practicalities of a library’.

For our non-fiction books we had also been trialing a new way to organise these. I’ve written posts about this before but the idea is to not shelve books via dewey but in the way that students want to access them: so via the subject, the year group and the term that they are being studied.  What this mean though was that we also needed to think about how we could organise these books on shelving. Traditional shelving wouldn’t work as we wanted it to, so we needed to be a little bit more creative with what we were purchasing. We purchased all our furniture from Peters Books Suppliers in Birmingham. Not only do they have a fantastic range of furniture but their service and support is exactly what you would want. We even had a representative, free of charge, come and talk to us about his thoughts and advice based on what we said we required. This was invaluable as having an ‘outsiders’ opinion helped guide our own thoughts.

The result has been that we have been able to transform our library on a very limited budget. We accessed pots of money available to state funded schools, made sure we kept up-to-date with school issues where we could offer a solution and importantly kept true to what our students and staff wanted and how they wanted to use the library. We have been able to create what our users call inspirational and we haven’t done it with a rebuild or a load of money and we have also created the library space we wanted rather than have someone else design and dictate a space that might look good but is completely impractical.

So when you read these articles and look at these pictures and think that you never do this to your space remember that inspiration can be a number of things and that with intelligence and smart thinking you can make your own space the place you want it be without spending a fortune.
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