Thursday, 30 September 2010

BBW Day 4

Sorry for not posting yesterday. I was up to my ears in work and then I supervised a Dance trip in the evening. We went to see Traces at the Peacock Theatre near Holborn. It was amazing and I'm glad I went though I am quite tired today. 5 hours with a group of giggly girls, negotiating rush hour underground traffic is not how I normally like to spend my Wednesday evening but actually it was kinda fun in the end.

Anyway, Waterstone's book sale today. They are arriving at 11.30 to set up. I've got lots to do today so I will write again later this evening.


The book sale didn't go as well as I had hoped. We had a lot of interest and people stopping by to look but we only sold 5 books in the end. Natalie (Waterstone's manager) was very nice though and said that doing school visits she either sells lots or hardly anything at all. Oh well! She said she is happy to come back any time so hopefully I can get her to come back for World Book Day in March.

The rest of the day went well. I spent a lot of time talking to students and teachers about Banned Books and I've even aquired my own little fan club. I met a lovely asian girl on the trip yesterday and she brought some of her friends in to meet me. They said they had made great friends with the Librarian at their last school and now they had met me they would be back often. We chatted about the books they like, their favourite authors and they asked me for recommendations. One of the best things about this week has been meeting so many students who just love to read. Two girls yesterday were over the moon when they saw that the Waterstone's stall had the next installment of the book in their favourite series. It was wonderful to see so many people excited about books and reading.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

BBW Day 2

Today was a really nice day! The kids are still coming in to look at the displays and I chatted with quite a few today about the Banned books and about books in general. One of the girls I work with was telling me that the son of a friend of hers who attends our College was talking about it at home. He was saying that everyone is talking about it. I was quite chuffed.

I've got two teachers coming in with their classes later this week to see the displays. One is a General Studies class who will be studying Censorship later in the term. The teacher was eager to get them in to see what we were doing.

I checked my work email this evening when I got home and found one from the Vice Principal. He was emailing to tell me that he had seen the displays and that he thought they were excellent. He wanted to pass on his congratulations to the Library staff. That really made me happy. It's not often that we get any recognition from the SMT for the work that we do. A lot of the time I just want to fly under their radar in case they diaspprove of what I do but it's nice to be able to do something like Banned Books Week and for people to recognize all the hard work that's gone into putting it all together.

One of our teachers organises and runs the Amnesty Internation group at the College. I went to speak to his students last week about Banned Books Week and they were really excited. Every year Amnesty International marks BBW by publicising people who have been arrested and or executed for writing and speaking out about subjects that are censored by their governments. The students decided to make me some posters and they are worked on them today in class. Carl (the teacher) brought them to me in the afternoon and they are stunning. They went mad with poster paint and drawings. I was so chuffed! They really put their hearts and souls into them. I've put them up on an empty bulletin board in the Library. I'll take some photos and post them later.

Monday, 27 September 2010

BBW Day 1

My day started at 7am. I didn't manage to get enough time on Friday to finish off all the background work on the bulletin boards so I got in early to try to get everything up before the kids came in. Nothing went right. The Hazard tape I used as the boarders on the bulletin boards was all pealing off and none of the documents that I had typed up on the weekend would open in Word 2010. I was like a woman possessed, running around trying to get it all fixed and done before I had to head off to the Briefing at 8.30. I managed to get one board done and the posters on the front doors before I had to abandon it all for the Briefing.

Back from Briefing, Abigail and I got all the book cover posters up on the boards with the blurbs about why they were banned, when and by whom. They look really good and I'm really pleased with how they all turned out.

On Friday Jean spent all day covering the banned books with brown paper. I got the idea from a photo I saw of another Library that was promoting BBW. We wrote things on the brown paper covers like, "I Promote Sexual Promiscuity" and "I Criticize the Catholic Church". We had lots of kids looking at them, especially the boys who seemed particularly interested in the one that said, "I Contain Scenes of Lesbianism". They were giggling like school girls - it was hilarious!

Today really was manic but I feel good about what I have accomplished. On Thursday, Waterstone's will be running a book stall in the Library (I managed to wanggle a 10% discount for the students!) and I've created two competitions (one for staff and one for students). The first prize is £10 of National Book Tokens.

I've had lots of great comments from students and teachers about the displays and generally what we are trying to promote. I think it's really important to remind people that we can't take our freedoms for granted. I really hope that by doing this I can promote Banned Books Week and get more UK schools involved. It's important that we spread the word so that people know that things like this still happen.

If you want to find out more about Banned Books Week, check out the ALA's website:


Anyway, off to have a nice cup of tea and wind down before more mayhem tomorrow!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Banned Books Week

I've been wanting to promote and run an event in the Library for a long time. The closest I've got in the last two years was doing a few things for World Book Day in March last year. I didn't realise that there was a Banned Books Week until about a month and a half ago. Preparing for it has been a little rushed and I've accidentally stepped on a few of the Senior management toes but otherwise things are going well. I've managed to organise for a major book chain to come and set up a book stall in the Library next week. That was quite an achievement for me though I did kinda rush it and I didn't get the procedure for authorising it quite right. Anyway, I've bought brown paper to wrap the 'banned books' in, I'm making book marks, I'm creating a prison motif for the bulletin boards and the Amnesty International kids are going to do a stall about people who have been executed or imprisoned for writing/promoting books/view points that have gone against Government agendas. It should be a good week and really all I'm hoping to do is get people thinking and reading. I'll post more next week with some photos of the things we've done.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Thought for the day

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
- Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, 2 September 2010

And we're back!

First week of term and it is MANIC! Student enrolement is a bit of a nightmare and for the students who didn't get the grades it is a bit emotional. Luckily I left at 4pm yesterday but some of my colleagues were at work until 7pm working through the backlog of students still to be registered. Today we've rearranged things a bit so hopefully our setion should work better.

We have a new Assistant Principal this year who is now incharge of overseeing the Library and the other facilities. I wasn't sure how I was going to take to having a new line manager (it took me long enough to break in the old one) but she is wonderful. I was feeling very demoralised over the summer and thinking about quiting and going back to uni. After one meeting with her I feel so much better and I actually believe that this year might be better than last. I hope that her enthusiasm and good mood lasts because we are in desperate need of it! She reminds me of how I was when I started two years ago. Now look at me - tired and cynical. Is this what working in education does to you?

I've made a few 'new year' resolutions. I need to sort out my life and get my priorities in order. There are lots of things that I want to do but I think that I'm just not organised enough to achieve them. So here are the things I want:

to finish my degree by September 2012
to learn to drive
to improve my fitness for cricket and for my own health
to read more for pleasure
to go on a proper holiday
to spend more quality time with my family and my boyfriend

Now these aren't earth shatteringly difficult things to achieve but I never seem to manage to do them. So starting this new school year I am going to make these things my priority. I have to change my life and be happier otherwise what am I doing?