About the Wodehouse Library

Screen break

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Certain areas of the school have become mobile free zones.

The Periodicals Room in the Wodehouse Library is one of them, although mobile phones and other devices (switched to silent mode) are still permitted in other parts of the Wodehouse for study purposes.

Given this new set of circumstances, we are discouraging gaming on personal devices and asking that boys instead reclaim the Periodicals Room as a place for quiet reading.

Furnished with comfy chairs and the latest issues of dozens of magazines and newspapers, the Periodicals Room offers boys and staff the perfect opportunity to take a screen break.

For anyone looking for a longer, more challenging read we would suggest picking up a copy of The Atlantic or Prospect, although other titles also offer in-depth journalism and comment. Prospect’s March issue includes a set of articles on free speech and one of our newest books –Feel Free, by Zadie Smith – might be of interest to you if you read Lionel Shriver’s words on the ‘call-out culture’. Smith’s foreword sets up her essays nicely and any of the them would divert you during a free-study period in the middle of the school day.

We hear you when you say that you haven’t got time to read – we’re busy too! – but nobody can make time for you to read except you. With that in mind, keep a look out for our Short Reads recommendations, coming soon to the Periodicals Room!

Reading is a good way to relax
Topping up on satire with Private Eye

Michaelmas Round-up

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It’s been a busy Michaelmas Term for the Wodehouse Library.

Over the summer a new Library Management System came on stream so there was a fresh look to the Library Catalogue and, at half-term, the new security system was switched on. Gradually all the items in the Wodehouse collection will be RFID tagged so, please, do return to the Issue Desk if the alarm goes off as you leave – you’ll hear a beeping noise if you have an item that hasn’t been issued and deactivated.

Pupil Librarians and Library Prefects have worked hard to help staff sort all the items which have been withdrawn from the collection during the tagging process. All the removed items will eventually go to charity or be recycled where possible.

We’ve been encouraging all Library users to make good use of the resources, including space, in the Wodehouse Library. This means that we are prioritising PC and table spaces for boys who want to get on with prep or quiet reading. Likewise, in the Periodicals Room we have been asking anyone not reading the magazines or newspapers to make way for others.

There have been a number of exciting author visitors to the school since September including Alex Wheatle, MBE, Matt Haig and Stewart Foster. For Stewart, this was a return to Dulwich College where his novel Bubble Boy won the TSBA Award 2017 earlier in the year.

Junior School boys visited the Wodehouse Library for a Shakespeare Tour. Groups were shown around by Mrs Lucy, the Keeper of the Archives, Mrs Cerio and Mr Fletcher.

Back at the start of Michaelmas, boarders spent an evening in the Wodehouse with Mr Fletcher and Year 9 boys took part in a Library and Archives induction. This offered a chance for boys to learn about the resources available to them in the Middle School. Working in groups the boys completed a quiz and listened to a brief talk on Library procedures.

Mr Fletcher presented the non-fiction collection and e-resources that will support Upper School boys, particularly those undertaking CREST Awards or EPQs, in their studies and all Wodehouse Library staff have tried to keep the Upper School study area a peaceful working environment. Specifically aimed at the Upper School we also introduced ‘Readaxation’ as a way of helping boys understand the benefits reading for pleasure can bring despite the various pressures of deadlines and preparing for the future beyond Dulwich College.

Many classes have also come to the Wodehouse with their English teachers to take a closer look at the 42 Reading List books and all have been encouraged to borrow from the fiction collection as part of our ongoing promotion of reading for pleasure in the school.

The Wodehouse Library staff took that reading for pleasure message out and about with our pop-up libraries just after half-term. Popping up in the PE Centre, Lord George Building, The Laboratory and the Christison Hall we were really pleased to speak with so many boys and staff about reading and loans for the week were encouragingly high. If you’re ever stuck for inspiration for what to read next, themed displays appear throughout the Wodehouse and staff are always on hand with suggestions.

We hope the long Michaelmas term has been successful for you all and wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and we look forward to many more good reads in 2018.

Summer has started

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On a sunny day like this it’s nice to contemplate the holidays.

This blog is taking a break (well earned of course) until September when we’ll be back with our usual mix of stuff.

Have a great summer.

Wodehouse Library team

It’s been busy

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Lent has been a busy time here in the Wodehouse Library.

Year 11s spent two of their wellbeing lessons with us learning about plagiarism avoidance using the study skills books and the Encyclopedia Britannica online resource.

Year 9 boys also visited the library for two lessons to work on their history projects. During these lessons boys used Ormiston (the Dulwich College Register) and the Dulwich College War Record, Ancestry.com and other online resources to research an OA who was killed during World War 1.

This year’s Free Learning Day for year 10 saw the Library and Archives team up to deliver 5 sessions exploring Christopher Marlowe’s connections to Dulwich College, conspiracy theories, fake news and fact-checking.

As part of the Trinity Schools Group, Dulwich College hosted the TSBA ceremony which saw author Stewart Foster win with his novel Bubble Boy.

We’ve maintained the usual displays of fiction and non-fiction in and around the library, added new stock and been glad of the continued help of prefects and pupil librarians with on-going weeding and tidying projects. We’re looking forward to seeing both boys and staff over the next few days choosing holiday reading!

Have a great Easter break, everyone, and see you in the Summer Term.

Round up

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We’re taking advantage of a quiet moment to round-up the start to Lent Term here in the Wodehouse Library.

Year 11s came back from the Christmas break straight into GCSE mock exams, so the Inner Room in particular has been a hive of activity for the past 9 or 10 days. It wasn’t always a peaceful hive of activity for anyone using the library (although there were moments!) but fingers crossed the results will be encouraging.

Today sees a return to lessons for the lucky Y11 boys so we’re looking forward to welcoming them all into the library for their wellbeing classes on plagiarism avoidance over the next fortnight.

The Periodicals Room has somewhat more than a fair smattering of covers featuring President-Elect Donald Trump. Earlier we ran a few of these covers by some Upper School boys who were in there reading and they agreed that the most striking was the NewStatesman’s Twitter/cuckoo clock effort.

One of the most exciting things to have happened though is the arrival of our new chameleon. Not yet officially named, he is around 18 months old, largely emerald green in colour (we are told he turns yellow at night), quite sociable and hungry! He joins us behind the Issue Desk to the chirping of crickets.










Readers of this blog will recall that the Wodehouse Library has been home to 2 other chameleons, Vernon and Colin.

Finally we should add our current reads in case you need inspiration over the weekend:

Echo Burning by Lee Childs

The Humans by Matt Haig

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The Girls by Emma Cline



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“A language is a conduit for and repository of a people’s history, tradition, religion and culture. If the language is lost, so too is a particular understanding of the world.”

We’re starting this post with a quote from June 2014’s New Internationalist (NI), which we have here in the Periodicals Room* of the Wodehouse Library. The front cover of the magazine is eye-catching: the words ‘Save our speech!” captured in a speech bubble.

It isn’t long before the NI’s lead article on endangered languages mentions something that often crops up in the mainstream news, attracting attention for a certain amount of time before being submerged by other issues: the use of language by young people. Indeed, language use attracts attention whether we’re aware of it or not because, as far as our listeners or readers are concerned, we’re using the wrong word without apparently realising it or we’re using foul language or perhaps we’re using ‘management speak’ which is really aggravating!

As the NI highlights, so-called minority languages are simultaneously protected and promoted by some whilst facing suppression and gradual extinction at the hands of others. Language is a political issue at a local level, for example, when it comes to council resources allocated to translation services and at national and international levels as the Galician example used by the NI demonstrates.

Meanwhile from Issue 59 (June/July 2014) of Aesthetica magazine we have an article entitled Lyrics With No Limits (p.118) which asks: “Can musicians have success in the global marketplace while performing in their native language?” This is a short piece offering a different perspective on language. In the words of Dutch rapper Brainpower:

“Language is something you can paint different pictures with, and each language has its own colour. If you want to get a certain emotion, you pick words in different languages.”

So why have we chosen to post about language? Well, here in the library you are surrounded by imaginative and informative uses of language and, of course, we are always keen to help you grasp how reading can help you develop your own use of words and your understanding of how others are trying to use them. There are subject reading lists available, fiction reading lists and regular up-dates on literary prize winning titles. We tweet regularly about articles in magazines as well as highlighting how our e-resources can complement your studies by targeting your searches for information more effectively.

Why not try a search of LibCat to see what you can find using the keyword ‘language’? From poetry to prose there’s a surprising amount in the Wodehouse collection that will be of interest for the curious.

*Back issues are available from the Reference Section, near the Issue Desk and you can now find the May 26-Jun1 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek which has an article starting on p.17 about how Chinese authorities are “waging a war on American culture and the use of English”.

Exams ahead – be prepared!

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Here in the Wodehouse Library we know how stressful exam time can be. Honestly, we do.

We also know that there is no magic wand to wave which will make all of the stress disappear. Instead we recommend good old-fashioned preparation!

There are many useful books in the Study Skills section which cover everything from time management to exam room strategy. Sometimes you won’t have thought of some of the things that these books mention and we’re not suggesting that you read them all and faithfully stick to any one strategy over all others – indeed it’s  important to remember in the run up to your exams that you work out a mix of time management, revision and exam strategy that works well for you.

Other resources that could help include:

  • the Very Short Introduction series of books – it’s common to hear exam candidates complain of not knowing anything and these books on subjects from Communism to Statistics might just be what reminds you of all the things you do know so you can walk into the exam room with some confidence
  • Connell Guides – another series of short texts. Search the Library Catalogue using the term ‘Connell Guides’ to find all 18 guides
  • Access to History series – as recommended by Charles Apthorpe (Year 13) whilst borrowing one! Not only finding them  helpful with his A2 coursework, Charles agrees that this kind of text is a great revision aid too
  • the Philip Allan Review series – these journals are aimed specifically at GCSE and A-Level students and include valuable revision help and syllabus-focused content
  • newspapers and magazines – in the Periodicals Room you will find the current editions of English and foreign language dailies and magazines, including The Economist, New Statesman, Mathematical Spectrum, New Scientist and BBC History
  • online resources – avoid wasting your time filtering good from not so good results in a Google search and head straight for the e-resources available via your MyDulwich homepage where all subject areas are covered by known, reliable information providers
  • staff – as we said at the top, we do know stuff and are here to help you.

Finally, because we understand how easy it is to procrastinate online whilst allegedly looking for tips on dealing with the horror of Exam Time, we’ve stashed some revision links for you on the Wodehouse Library’s Delicious page. Now there’s no need to go searching for revision help as we’ve done it for you and made the links easy to find by tagging them with the words: revision, exams, study skills.

Good luck!