pupil librarians

…completely detached from the syllabus

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A new voice for our blog today. Harry, one of the Yr 13 boys, shares his thoughts on the library:

The knowledge that can be found in books is the primary source of their appeal, novels are important too but my interest is more often than not directed towards the non-fiction shelves. The library is valuable not only for reading around syllabuses, especially as a first point of reference for individual studies such as history coursework (the stock of Very Short Introductions in particular), but also as a place to generally broaden horizons in a way completely detached from the syllabus. Tim Marshall’s ‘Prisoners of Geography’ for example provides a fascinating interpretation of geopolitics based on a geographic determinism that, while dubious at times, is rather illuminating and certainly thought provoking. The reference section is also important, feeding a fondness for apparently useless facts and obscure information, dictionaries of quotations or subjects as esoteric as the burial places of famous people are always wonderful diversions. Building a wider knowledge and understanding of the world, with history as a main focus, has therefore been the biggest influence that books have had on my life from a young age to now and in the future.



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This year’s jolly book tree in the Wodehouse Library was made up of 116 items.

The winner is Alexander Poli of 6R – many congratulations to you, Alexander!

Last minute entries at the Pupil Librarians' Christmas Party
Last minute entries at the Pupil Librarians’ Christmas Party

Reference and Study Skills Sections

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There have been a few changes in the Wodehouse Library this Michaelmas term.

Most noticeably, the Reference Section has been reduced and some shelving removed. We know that for some of you the leisure to browse some of the more obscure dictionaries whilst awaiting your printing will be felt keenly and we offer as an alternative the headlines from The Day which are posted each day on the Issue Desk, or why not chat to the merry librarians!

Our second exciting change concerns the Study Skills collection, which has been moved into the newly freed up space in the Reference Section. We hope that this move will raise awareness of the many useful items which support teaching and learning at DC.

One of the key things to remember about the Study Skills collection is that you don’t have to read any of the books cover to cover. Simply dip into relevant sections and learn what you need. Along the way you can pick up some decent advice about how to overcome obstacles and gain some reassurance that you are not the only one to have struggled to write or plan an essay or craft the most persuasive argument ever.

And here it is! Many thanks to Charles Bird, Arthur Cheung and Percy Chan for the help moving the books and creating the display.

Know more

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There’s something for everyone on the shelves of the Wodehouse Library’s Periodical Room.

During Friday break Nadzirul, a Year 12 boy, reviewed an article about the positive and negative effects of video games in the February 2014 issue of Psychology Review:

Recently, debates comes out hugely regarding how video games impact the social and healthy lifestyle of youngsters. Does video games bring solely negative impacts? Is there any positives that comes out from video games? This article answers all the doubts that adults have regarding whether or not video games only bring negative impacts to the society.

Break and lunch times are ideal opportunities for boys and, indeed, members of staff to catch up on articles like this and all curriculum areas are represented as well as leisure activities like soccer and yachting.

Back issues of many titles, including the Review series, are kept in the Reference Section of the Wodehouse Library whilst other titles are distributed to academic departments. Keeping up to date with what’s in the newspapers and in periodicals like The New Statesman, The Economist and The New Yorker is a great way to boost your learning. Additionally, along with our print subscriptions online access to extensive archives for many titles is included and you can see these via the e-resources menu on your MyDulwich homepage.

“Only those who had been through battle could really know…”

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Starting next week, Year 9 boys will be coming into the Wodehouse Library to work on their World War I history project.

We asked a couple of the pupil librarians to delve in to the new display of World War I books and find something interesting to share…

Nadzirul, a year 12 boy, found his eye drawn to J. M. Winter’s book World War I : the experience and suggested that the following encapsulates the title and the intention of the book:

“Only those who had been through battle could really know how human beings could be squashed like ants or rearranged like ‘ghastly dolls’, as the British writer Siegfried Sassoon put it. Many soldiers developed a defensive callousness after having seen dismembered corpses time and again. What ex-soldiers recalled in later years varied substantially. In R. H. Mottram’s Spanish Farm Trilogy (1924-27), it was not a legless man but a headless man who continued to haunt the central character. Others blotted such images out of their minds for ever.”

Winter, J. M. World War I : the experience, p.146. London: Angus Books Ltd; 2006

These words accompany a photograph, one of three on the same double page spread, that emphasize the horror of war.

For Ayman, a year 9 boy already working on the project, the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Guide book World War I stood out because of its usefulness for different parts of the project requirements. In particular the technology and the weaponry used, all illustrated and annotated. The book offers bite-sized chunks of information which many year 9 boys should find helpful throughout their work on this important history project.

You can find the new display in the Wodehouse Library, near the Issue Desk in the IT Area and, of course, you can check their availability for loan using LibCat.

Is a meteorite going to hit us?

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Pupil librarians help out in the Wodehouse Library every morning at break.

This has always been a popular activity for boys to get involved with and those who demonstrate their commitment by turning up week after week are awarded the distinctive Library tie.

A definite perk of becoming a pupil librarian is the chance to get to know more about the resources we have here, print and electronic. Recently the task for the Friday pupil librarians was to head off into the non-fiction section of the Library and find something that interested them.

A time-limited chance to let the book covers catch his eye proved the hook for Andre (Year 9) who discovered in Ungentle Shakespeare: scenes from his life, by Katherine Duncan-Jones, that Ben Jonson had re-used a Shakespeare phrase – chap-fall’n or chop-fallen – in his play Poetaster. Jonson of course lends his name to one of the Houses here at Dulwich College which was another reason for Andre’s choice.

From a completely different part of the collection, Nadzirul (Year 12), picked out Bill Bryson’s A Really Short History of Nearly Everything. Amongst the interesting things from this book Nadzirul highlighted:

  • How big is the universe?
  • How heavy is the earth?
  • Why are the oceans salty?
  • Is a meteorite going to hit us?

The answers to these questions and more await discovery! You can check the availability of all books via LibCat, the Library catalogue.