Libraries supporting reading and learning

The Swallow Library is at the heart of the School now as it was in the seventeenth century when it formed the original school room of Harsnett’s foundation.  Here in the English school and the Latin school a few lucky local boys were prepared for the vicissitudes of Stuart England. Up above, it is thought, William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania enjoyed the simple accommodation of an early boarder.  Now this venerable building houses the main school library, a place where sixth-formers can choose to study during the day and which may be visited by any member of the school during breaks and when lessons are over.  Weekly library lessons take place for pupils in Years 7-10 inclusive.  The greater part of the school’s book collection is contained within the Swallow Library although many departments have their own small specialist libraries.  In addition to the traditional books and periodicals, the Swallow Library has computers and printing facilities for those who need to work online.  The Swallow Library facilities are available at weekends for the use of boarders and resident staff.
The Junior School has its own recently refurbished and extended library for the exclusive use of children in years 3 to 8.  This cheerful, brightly-lit space also has network-linked tablets. The Swallow Library and the Junior School Library share a common computerised catalogue which is searchable on-site and at home.  Both also have their own librarians and library assistants.  As part of the school’s literacy programme, the librarians organise regular visits by popular writers of children’s fiction. Recent visitors have included Meg Rosoff, Patrick Ness, Marcus Sedgwick and Tom Palmer.

The Pre Prep benefits from a specially designed library which stocks a wide variety of both fiction and non-fiction books, especially aimed at developing essential literacy skills and an enthusiasm for reading in our youngest pupils.  Weekly storytelling sessions are delivered by trained staff and all classes have regular times to visit the library in order to browse and choose books to take home to share with their families.  Pupils also have opportunities to visit the library to support their work in all areas of the curriculum.  The library is equipped with resources for role play and for retelling stories to allow pupils to engage in imaginative and creative activities.