Bedford School's Librarian receives national recognition

Bedford School's Librarian has been named as one of just three librarians in the School Librarian of the Year (Secondary) Honours List. Since joining Bedford two-and-a-half years ago, Lauren’s aim has been to build upon the image of the library, creating a welcoming and inclusive space.

Bedford School's Librarian receives national recognition
Photo: Bedford School

Bedford School's Librarian, Lauren Chatley, has been named as one of just three librarians in the hugely prestigious School Librarian of the Year (Secondary) Honours List.

The awards are organised by the School Library Association which works to recognise the excellent work carried out in school libraries every day.

Additionally, through the School Librarian of the Year Awards, they are able to highlight the practice of librarians whose work is outstanding.

Lauren said: "The whole process has been a humbling experience because at each stage I have felt very grateful that people within the school recognise and appreciate what I do.

"It has also prompted lots of reflection and I have found myself asking, 'Are we doing things the best way we can?' and 'What can we develop further?'"

Since joining Bedford School two-and-a-half years ago, Lauren’s aim has been to build upon the image of the library, creating a welcoming and inclusive space, which she has achieved through a carefully considered and multi-faceted 'Reading for Wellbeing' programme.

Working closely with the Head of PSHE, Lauren and her team have ensured that whenever issues are raised during school PSHE lessons or pastoral focus periods, they are well supported by reading lists and displays within the Library.

Lauren bolsters reading material with circulars outlining readings, podcasts and websites, and more recently, she has run popular events such as a hugely successful 'Boardgame Friday' to provide a place for boys who may not be confident in all areas of school life.

Lauren has also developed topical library book displays to target inclusion aims.

There has been a focus on ensuring that displays are enticing, with pupils immediately seeing books from a far more representative field of authors than they have done historically.

While the library will always offer traditional texts, more modern texts and graphic novels, such as manga, have been introduced.

A new initiative called the 'Reading Collective' was created, where a set of shortlisted books are provided to each class and small book clubs have developed to discuss the texts as part of the boys' English lessons.

Speaking on the benefits of these initiatives to the boys, Lauren said: "Already, we are seeing the boys really getting into their books, which, when they first took them out, they weren’t expecting to.

"Conversations are starting to be heard in the Library during their sessions, which has gone long a long way to building a reading culture.

"While, as a school, we already have a strong academic reading culture, these initiatives encourage our 'reading for pleasure' aims."

Director of Teaching and Learning Will Montgomery said: "Lauren is a true educator, committed to making sure that all pupils benefit from the library, whether as a focused academic, curious teenager, or simply as a pupil looking for somewhere to belong.

"She is ambitious, because she believes that she is here to make a genuine difference, and from the moment she arrived she has done just that."

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