On Tuesday, we blew up some red balloons and, inevitably, some of the boys started playing balloon tennis in the Periodicals Room.
But that was after the real sport happened in the Wodehouse Library! Yes, in support of Sport Relief 2018 we issued the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology Challenge to all comers.
Preparation for this challenge pretty much amounted to reminding yourself of the alphabet, maybe flexing your fingers, concert pianist style. Then, on the DING! of the Wodehouse Library bell, your task was to shelve the 20 encyclopedias in the correct alphabetical order, with the Index at the end, as quickly as possible.
Up against the clock, our contestants found the heavy-ish encyclopedias tricky to manage what with them constantly falling over and “turning themselves upside down”. The “trolley kept shifting because it has wheels“, and the “alphabet is trickier than it looks” etc. Some contestants wondered about strategy: would the task be easier if all the encyclopedias were first loaded willy-nilly onto the trolley? Or was it best to leave them where they had been randomly stacked on the desk? Hmmm…
So, yes, some contestants had more than one go – at 50p a time – only to find that giggling slowed them down, or it was the alphabet again. Our winner, however, swaggered in late, had one attempt and carried all before him with a stunning time of 61 seconds which was faster than the library staff trial run last Friday. Well done Sam!
Big thanks to all who took on the Challenge and helped us raise money for Sport Relief 2018. It was lots of fun for us sporty librarians, obviously, and we’re really chuffed to have so fired Miss Akrill’s competitive streak, happily accommodating her 2 extra out-of-competition attempts this morning when she discovered that she hadn’t won with yesterday’s attempt.
#PopUpLibrary week started with the #66 spinner looking as if it were about to be kidnapped.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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!
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
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