Wodehouse Library

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Pupil Librarians and Library Prefects have worked hard to help staff sort all the items which have been withdrawn from the collection during the tagging process.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

…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.

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


Ho ho how many items in our tree?

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P. G. Wodehouse sitting pretty above our beautiful book tree
P. G. Wodehouse sitting pretty above our beautiful book tree

We’ve definitely got the festive spirit here in the Wodehouse Library!

There’s a whopping great tree in the Periodicals Room and this tinselled marvel at the Issue Desk.

You can join in the Christmassy fun by making a guess at the number of books and CDs used in this Yuletide wonder. The most accurate guess will win a prize (most likely an edible one) when it is taken apart on Tuesday December 15th and the actual number of items discovered by all at the Pupil Librarians’ Christmas Party (Wodehouse Library, lunchtime, invitation only!).

Come and see us at the Issue Desk and make your guess.


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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”.


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Earlier this month the news that a school, Hampton Court House in Surrey, planned to introduce hours more in keeping with the circadian rhythm of its older teenagers occupied some headline writers and got radio phone-in show callers all fired-up.

A certain amount of the response to this time shifted school day ran to little more than condemnation of the idea as pandering to lazy teenagers and the question was posed: how does this help prepare young people for the world of work?

However, as this article from The Telegraph highlights, Hampton Court House is not alone in adjusting the school day and headmaster Guy Holloway was at pains to emphasize that the decision was based on scientific research, not whim or fatigue at dealing with tired teens.

After hearing the subject of sleep and school day hours versus working day hours come up amongst library users, we had a poke about on the internet in a comparatively quiet moment here in the Wodehouse Library and have added just a few links below relating to why sleep matters, what can prevent good sleep and how much sleep is enough:

Sleep matters

Five things that stop a good night’s sleep

Is there too much light at night?

4 hours a night??

A run of poor sleep changes the body

Then we got a bit carried away and started searching for sleep related articles from the e-resources and had some fun (yes, fun!) with American Scientist and The Economist and serendipitously discovered a poem called The Big Sleep by James Tolan using the Literary Reference Centre. Honestly, once you start delving into the e-resources you WILL find interesting and useful things.

Then we asked the DC librarians to suggest books which have sleep as a theme so you could plunder LibCat for some summer reading:

Mrs. Stein typed ‘sleep’ into the keyword search box of LibCat and found J. Allan Hobson’s Dreaming: a very short introduction amongst 12 other items sharing the same keyword from across all DC’s libraries. Skimming through, this quote caught her eye: “…to fall asleep, we have to assume postures that are immobile; we will not be able to go to sleep if we are unable to stop moving.” We’ve mentioned the VSI series of books before on this blog and there’s plenty of information in this one to snag your attention.

Mr. Fletcher came up with The House of Sleep by Jonathan Coe.

Mrs. Forbes in the Junior School Library said of Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Walters “…a brilliant thriller – very easy reading and grabbed you from the first page.”

Of course the kind of sleep that Raymond Chandler’s sleuth Philip Marlowe discovered was not the restorative kind at all but nonetheless The Big Sleep is an engaging read and you can see from the catalogue that we have the story in other formats too.

Mrs. Rowing in the Raymond Chandler Library suggested the rather charming sounding The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan.

We’ll stop there as this should surely offer plenty on the subject of sleep to make keep you going for now but we’ll leave you with a reminder that in the Periodicals Room you can view Old Time Tuition at Dulwich College, 1828 – a painting in which a master can be seen instructing boys from his bed, a solution that we haven’t yet seen made in the ongoing debate around the timing of the school day.

Dulwich Picture Gallery
Dulwich Picture Gallery

 DCWodehouse edit 21st May 2014: there’s an interesting article on how a technique used by physicists is being used by sleep experts to help people understand and manage their perceived sleeplessness better. See the May 17th issue, page 33-35.


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