At first glance the College Library at St John’s appears to be a traditional school library. This library is housed in a beautiful room, with a soaring ceiling, containing wood-clad walls and the odd inspirational marble bust of great minds such as Shakespeare and Dante.
The image of indulging in a novel is definitely not cool for the average schoolboy. Even the brightest collection of relevant novels would not appeal, as arranged in school library shelves. To lure readers, it was decided to create a fiction lounge in the gallery overlooking the College’s Darragh Hall. A terraced effect has been created with carpeted stairs, and seating is provided by scattering giant pillows and beanbags. Old Boys revisiting the College express their envy at seeing the pupils languishing on the pillows, and reading.
This venue has become a popular place to kill time after doing homework, and perhaps waiting for a parent or choir practice. Library users are encouraged to participate in the building of the fiction book stock. Waitlists are very popular with the serious readers in the College. The Librarians’ motto is: “If we don’t have it, we will get it!”
The library hours are quite user-friendly: the library is open from 06h30 every morning, and librarians are on duty until 16h00.
We have a number of thin, client computers all pupils can access with their personalised username and password. These machines have MS Office loaded. Pupils can also access the internet and centralised printing facilities through the library computers. Pupils are able to save and store their work on a central server, which allows them to access their work from any machine on the campus.
The library is a wireless hotspot; boys are able to bring their own laptops or tablet devices and connect. The library is equipped with an Apple TV and the librarian is able to stream content from her iPad or teachers are able to use it as a teaching aid. St John’s Library also provides eReaders and some pupils are beginning to enjoy this service.
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” – Franz Kafka, 1904