Library Book Clubs @ Elgin Academy

Library Book Clubs at Elgin Academy:

Novelties Book Club for pupils; Comic Characters Graphic Novels Club and Staff Book Club

In Novelties Book Club at Elgin Academy, we are a lively group which enjoys reading, discussing and sharing books with each other and with everyone in school. We meet every Wednesday at lunchtime and we can bring our own lunch, to make the most of our lunchtimes. Our activities include: shadowing The Grampian Children’s Book Awards, creating a reading folder of reviews, creating fantastic displays, as well as promoting our popular Star Reader Interview each month. We enjoy watching film adaptations of books and we help with our whole-school reading events, such as our hugely successful Harry Potter Book Night. Recently, we built a book fort in the library, with over 500 books and held a Bookathon in the library all day, raising money to buy even more fabulous books for the library. Our new initiative is creating reading postcards for book recommendations and we are looking forward to being involved in Book Week Scotland events and to making some book-themed cakes.


Comic Characters Club is for all those – pupils and staff – who are interested in reading graphic novels, or who want to write their own comic, or who are mad for Manga. Every Tuesday, during lunchtimes in the library is when it meets and after Christmas, will again be shadowing the Excelsior Award. This is the only nationwide book award for graphic novels and manga – where kids aged 11-16 decide the winner by rating each book as they read it! The Excelsior Award attempts to highlight some of the amazing books that are out there – books that fully deserve to be in our school libraries alongside regular fiction!


Our Staff Book Group has a membership of 15 staff, drawn from a variety of departments. It meets once a month, at lunchtime, to discuss a chosen book. Staff are encouraged to send suggestions to the library for book choices and a list is collated for each meeting and votes are cast and counted for the book of choice. Twice a year, we have a literary lunch and our annual Secret Santa book giving at Christmas time is always hugely popular. We also enjoy watching the film adaptations of books and we plan to view Paddington 2 and My Cousin Rachel soon.

staff book group


Reading Promotion

Shelagh Toonen @ Elgin Academy.

Reading Promotion

Ways School Libraries Can Promote Literacy and Independent Reading

Reading promotion gives us the opportunity to raise the profile of books and reading in our schools, while at the same time sharing our passion for high-interest titles, favourite authors, and the joy of living a bookish life.

Librarians know that:

  • Motivation and choice play key roles in reading.
  • Strong and capable readers are those who read widely and diversely in a wide variety of genres and text types.
  • In the quest to build capable readers, promoting independent, self-selected reading remains key. Creating keen, lifelong readers doesn’t just happen, it takes a school-wide culture to help reach that goal.
  • We want our pupils to read more. We want them to enjoy reading. We know that reading builds vocabulary, fluency, and background knowledge.

The librarian’s role in promoting reading

We know that the library is at the heart of reading promotion and a reading culture in our schools. What’s more, we know that our role in creating readers is one of the most exciting and satisfying parts of the job.

There are numerous ways we can promote reading in the library and throughout the school. It also gives us an opportunity to collaborate with other staff and perhaps organise a team to share the tasks.

  1. Author visits: LLF Scottish Book Trust scheme
  2. Book awards shadowing: Grampian and Scottish Children’s Book Awards
  3. Book Clubs: junior/senior pupils/graphic novels/ staff
  4. Whole-school activities: create projects such as Harry Potter Book Night/Alice in Wonderland /Shakespeare/The Hobbit’s Second Breakfast or.. tap into whole-school events such as International Week…
  5. World Book Day/National Poetry Day/Book Week Scotland
  6. Reading challenges and quizzes: book quizzes/scavenger hunts/contests/inter-house challenges
  7. Read what pupils are reading: it is important to help pupils find books that grab their attention and interest them. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to keep our book knowledge current.
  8. Online/Digital promotion: Twitter hashtag to share books/create book trailers/have features on the library’s dedicated pages on the school website.
  9. Dynamic displays: attractive displays throughout the year. Not just in the library. Try the canteen or social areas. Create displays that connect to events in school.
  10. Pupils’ book reviews: create a folder or display. Pupils enjoy reading their peers’ recommendations.
  11. Encourage teachers to read and promote reading: book talks at staff meetings/get staff involved in reading challenges; ie caught reading or extreme reading/suggest read-aloud to teachers, which is linked to their current topic and/or offering to visit classes and book-talk topic-specific books.
  12. Pupils reading advisors/ambassadors: from book club or nominated by a member of staff. Enthusiastic pupils can share books at assemblies, create bookmarks, help out at book events, interview authors, interview staff and pupils about favourite books. Ambassadors can help to create a reading culture.
  13. OSCAR (our school cares about reading) time/SSR (silent sustained reading): time for those who would like some quiet time to read. Provide access to quality reading material during this time. Put together boxes full of high interest items, which will appeal to all types of readers, such as magazines.


How do you promote reading in your school? Any different ideas that you would like to share? Email

Autumn Gathering – Library Surgery Feedback

I just wanted to share with you all the feedback that we had following The Library Surgery session at Autumn Gathering 2017.

It was great to see so many people at the session and I loved hearing everyone chatting and sharing ideas, concerns, solutions and activities with each other.

From the list of comments I think it is clear that we need to have more opportunties to get together as school librarians and chat. Plain and simple. We mostly work alone and do not always get the chance to chat to fellow colleagues as much as we should or would like.

SLG Scotland are planning to organise another Networking event in the New Year. Keep a look out for times and dates. Any suggestions for what we should be doing are most welcome. At the moment we are looking at a few different ideas including, structured chats, book tasting and shout outs about best practice.

SLG – Library Surgery Comments 

  • Very interesting to hear from colleagues in other authorities.
  • Hearing from folk with same problems/ideas etc. as yourself
  • Interesting to hear different perspectives
  • Networking with other librarians and sharing best practice
  • Meeting other school librarians – some great ideas
  • Networking – sharing good practice – sharing support
  • Meeting different school librarians
  • Good to hear what work other school librarians are doing
  • As part of networking I’d love to have a ‘book tasting’ and get book recommendations
  • Great to share ideas and be so positive
  • Opportunity to discuss mutual problems and situation with fellow professionals
  • Discussion among peers – inspiring
  • Networking and chance to discuss issues.
  • Useful to share good practice amongst group members
  • It was great to share ideas with the group
  • Enjoyed meeting everyone from different authorities and comparing experiences
  • Talking about common issues
  • Enjoyed talking to new people
  • Getting to hear other people’s experiences
  • Good to meet fellow colleagues and listen to others experiences
  • Great to learn about real experiences and events in school libraries
  • Great creative ideas being shared
  • Sharing Good practice
  • Great author recommendations from Scottish Book Trust
  • Interesting discussion of ideas
  • We could have talked for longer but I appreciate the constraints of the day
  • Good, lots of new ideas. Interesting chat.
  • Could have had less questions to give more time to discuss
  • Lovely opportunity to meet and exchange ideas. Worked really well.
  • Discussion of social media ideas
  • Discussing issues with other librarians – we work alone most of the time
  • Hearing other school librarian’s ideas and situations
  • Really useful discussion questions. Great to have time to talk with colleagues and share ideas.
  • Really enjoyed the conversation. All positive. Good to have a focus for the chat.
  • Discussing relevant questions with fellow professionals
  • Chatting to other school librarians and finding out what they do. Great to hear other views on school issues.
  • Useful to discuss issues with school librarians
  • It was good to be able to talk to other school librarians and to know that we all share similar concerns
  • Hearing about an unknown resource – love reading 4 schools
  • Always love the chance to share best practice.
  • Discussing the issues we are faced with is always good.
  • Good to hear how other librarians deal with situations and new practices.

We are in the process of collating all the information from the different questions discussed. This will be made available on the blog and emailed to those who left their contact details.




October – Monthly Focus – Book Groups & Reading for Pleasure.

Our next monthly focus is going to be on Book Groups and Reading for pleasure.

We will have some examples from SLG Committee members but it would be great to have some input from those that read and follow the blog.

We are looking for some examples of how books groups are ran in Scottish School Libraries. It would also be great if we could feature pictures of your library displays to encourage Reading for Pleasure.

If anyone wants to submit anything to the blog please email us at


Lee-Anne x

Library Inductions @ Elgin Academy

S1 Library Induction at Elgin Academy

Week 1     Introduction      

Welcome S1 power point: with a talk and S2 short film about the library. This film is all about what happens in the library, the book talk programme and the library and whole-school reading events. (S2s made the film during Digital Learning Week in May)

  • Borrowing of books.


Week 2     Ant Man and Challenges

  • Ant Man is Stuck in a Book: power point.
  • In groups of 5, find Ant Man in the books. This is a competitive, fast-paced fun challenge, with prizes for the team finished first. Using the library catalogue, fiction, non-fiction and the genre boxes.
  • Bonus challenge for those who finish the Ant Man challenge.

Library periods (weekly) from Week 3:

Three activities for S1: Aug – Oct/Oct-Dec/Jan-March

  1. Librarian Book Talks once a month, on different themes.

These are interactive and are all about motivating pupils to read more, try new books and talk about the books highlighted in the book talks. A full programme is available on request.

  1. Personal reading (1st 15 minutes to choose books. Reading in class)
  2. Activity. All in the library:
  • Note-making skills and putting these into practice/ Information detectives: research task in groups
  • Book Talks from pupils.
  • Personal reading Record: Rainbow Diary or new Reading Profile.

Library Inductions @ Chryston High School

I am really lucky in my school in that my English department have agreed to have a fortnightly library lesson for the full year.

The plan is for the first 3 weeks the pupils will be introduced to the library and cover the basics, such as:

  • How the library is organised
  • Different books in the library – Fiction/Non-Fiction/Reference etc
  • Library Catalogue (depending on whether it is working or not)

We then spend a lesson exploring different genres of books and I use a book tasting menu to get the pupils to think about what books they would like to read. There will be a different genre of books on each table and pupils spend the period moving around them all and get a small taste of all the different books in the library. Pupils can then borrow the books they like which sets them up for the rest of the library lessons.

CHS – Book tasting Menu

Once the basic library induction is finished we move on to more of a reading period. This year we are going to spend the first 15-20 minutes of the lesson doing a variety of different activities over the year, such as:

  • Different Book Talks – concentrating on favourite books/authors/genres
  • Reading aloud from poems/short stories/books
  • Using Authors Live to watch different clips

For the rest of the lesson pupils will be expected to read, this can either be their own book or a book they have borrowed from the library. Alongside this pupils will be given a Personal Reading Diary with a number of different tasks. Once they complete a book then they will complete a task.

The week that the pupils are not in the library, their English teacher will be working with them on different aspects of reading and literacy. They will also be able to fill in their Personal Reading Diaries in class this week if needed.

CHS – Library Booklet p1

CHS – Book Genre Jigsaw

Above are the list of tasks the pupils will have in their Personal Reading Diary and an example of the Book Genre Jigsaw that they use all year.

Everything that I do is a mixture of ideas from different librarians. Hopefully some of you will be able to take these ideas and make them your own as well.

Library Inductions

So this month we are going to look at Library Inductions. I know that everyone will work in a different way but we thought it would be a good idea to highlight how important S1 Library Inductions are and show a few examples of what can be done.

Why are Library Inductions important?

  • They are the first chance you really get to show of your library and yourself to the new S1 pupils.
  • It gives you the opportunity to set out the rules and expectations of the library.
  • It can give you the opportunity to collaborate with a department, English works well but many librarians work with different departments depending on what they want to showcase.
  • It lets you get to know the new S1.

Why are Library Inductions important in your school? Let us know in the comments please.