Wodehouse Library

#PopUpLibrary Week

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#PopUpLibrary week started with the #66 spinner looking as if it were about to be kidnapped.

Bound for the #PopUpLibrary

A couple of boys asked what the ransom was and we jokingly replied it was that all the books must be borrowed and read. After that it was off to the PE Centre where we set up in the reception area. Both copies of Fire and Fury were soon issued.

Easter reading for Mr Davy










On Wednesday we popped up in The Laboratory, the newest building on campus. We set up between the George Farha Auditorium and the James Caird Hall and gave top billing to Stephen Hawking’s books after the sad news of his passing. Unsurprisingly, his works were soon snapped up by borrowers, as were many fiction titles including classics from our #42 Reading List and Alex Wheatle’s Crongton series.

RIP Stephen Hawking
Book 1 in the Crongton series










Thursday saw us rolling our trolleys and #66 spinner into the Lord George Building. We added some politics and economics titles to the selection of books and enjoyed some interesting conversations about books people were already reading (and enjoying) as well as lending more, including Gut by Giulia Enders – a book enthusiastically recommended by Mr Rowney. To add to the Library vibe of our little pop-up, Solomon and Toby settled in to do some prep.

Prep in the #PopUpLibrary
Read and digest










On Friday we decided to leave the spinners behind and set up in the Christison Hall with a selection of titles which drew crowds at break time. We could hardly issue books quickly enough! The #Summoner series was borrowed, as were a number of the Master’s recommendations of OA writers – including the C.S. Forester mystery The Pursued.

Ready for action!
A London mystery










Over the 4 pop-ups, we were able to make 116 new issues, lots of renewals and scoop up some returns too. Best of all, we were able to showcase and talk about  the great collection of fiction and non-fiction books that all staff and students have access to here in the Wodehouse Library.

Many thanks to our wonderfully helpful Pupil Librarians and Prefects: Rohan, Francesco, Luke, Jackson, Felix, Paul, Edward, Sami, Tom, Sam, Solomon, Lucas, Oscar and Harry.

Special thanks also to all the Site Officers who shifted equipment about for us and grateful thanks to everyone who held open doors and made way for us as we rolled around the campus.

Fingers crossed for more #PopUpLibrary adventures in the Summer Term 🙂




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Look out for the Wodehouse Library #PopUpLibrary at morning break and lunchtime in these locations this week:

  • Tuesday – PE Centre
  • Wednesday – The Laboratory
  • Thursday – Lord George Building
  • Friday – Christison Hall.

We’ll have the #42 and #66 Reading List books, staff recommendations, lots of goodies from our fiction and non-fiction collections and we’re bringing the #ReturnsBox with us too so you can give back anything you’ve finished.

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

Ha ha hard question, hmmmm

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Tell me about a book that made you laugh…

This week, in honour of the LOLLIES which announces its winner on January 18 2018, we’ve been asking people what books made them laugh. The question, though, has produced more thoughtful faces than immediate grins at the memory of a hilarious book.

Lots of people pursed their lips and did that thing where you look off into the space behind and above the person you’re talking to. Quite a few “hmmmed” thoughtfully and leaned against a desk, table or the nearest wall whilst they thought some more. “A book that made me laugh? Hmmm…”. Not such an easy one to answer, in truth. Lots of people said that their reading provoked a mixture of responses – some laughs, yes, but also sadness, sympathy, elation, empathy and so on.

We do have some suggestions for funny books though, starting perhaps obviously with one by P.G. Wodehouse, the famous OA for whom we are named. Our 42 Reading List includes Carry On, Jeeves which begins with Jeeves, the valet,  floating “noiselessly through the doorway like a healing zephyr“* and dealing with Bertie Wooster’s hangover. This is an amusing series of related short stories offering escape and diversion, so we thought we would pop it on our list of books that could make you laugh.

Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island and The Road to Little Dribbling both got mentions for making people laugh. The latter book was shortlisted a few years back for the TSBA and remains popular with borrowers here. Notes was written first and Dribbling is a 20-year anniversary follow-up of anecdotes and observations about the habitual oddities of Brits. Again, amusing, not necessarily taxing and it starts with the funny story of Bryson getting hit in the head. We know the head hitting story is funny because we showed it to Dr Hulls and he laughed out loud right there at the Issue Desk.

Back on the 42 list we have The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams and A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, both of which are blurbed as funny. Evelyn Waugh’s satire Decline and Fall might cause you to crack a smile too. The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett is Funny (note capitalisation!), especially any of the stories starring Death.

So there’s a start to our list of books that could well have you laughing out loud and, in the same week that boasted the most miserable Monday, here’s something that brought a bittersweet smile to our faces. A tweet from Grasmere School which included a photo of the mobile library van welcoming children into its warmth on a wild weather day. Easy to forget how lucky we are here at Dulwich College since every single one of us has access to 4 libraries where we can escape into another (sometimes warmer) worlds, find books to support our studies, work quietly and collaboratively or simply chat about reading with library staff.

*p.12 Carry On, Jeeves


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.