Heart of the school – St Martin of Tours Primary Library

Today I was delighted to be invited by Kim Yeomans to visit her library at St Martin of Tours Primary School. Kim is a super teacher librarian with a massive heart who brings the library to life with the help of a library technician who comes once a week – although if you stepped into the library and looked around at the evidence of the wonderful things that take place there you would think that it was staffed by many more people.

As a secondary school teacher librarian, I appreciate stepping into a primary school library because it reminds me of all the hard work that occurs before students start secondary school. What I saw today was a beautiful space lovingly and thoughtfully created and recreated regularly for the pleasure of children who come to immerse themselves in the worlds of books and reading.

Kim’s library walls are creative, visual displays of the worlds that prep-grade 6 children step into when they read and create. It’s a warm, enticing and stimulating communal space with nooks here and there, soft seating and areas with tables and chairs inviting children to gather in small groups or as a class. Oversized 3 dimensional book characters, some created by children and parents,  are reminders of worlds that come to life through reading and shared activities.

This is a world in which you want to linger, snuggle into a beanbag or sunny corner with a view of trees, escape the mundane and make time stand still. The colourful reading chair seems to be shifting impatiently, ready for a story with an eager audience. What better environment than this to introduce a love of reading, fantasy, ideas and creative possibilities? What better place than this to grow literacies without the pain of prescribed lessons? Where would you find community as happily as in these walls?

Who would be mad enough to envisage a primary school without the library, without the teacher librarian whose role description and daily roster would intimidate the most hard working leading teacher? And yet there are schools who forget this – perhaps in the busyness of day to day routines or in the name of change and technologies – how absolutely precious and indispensable all primary school libraries are, just as they continue to be in secondary school and higher education.

Thank you, Kim, for inviting me into your gorgeous library and chatting to me about all the wonderful things you make happen for the children you love so much. You can read more about what happens in this library by reading the St Martin of Tours library blog.












5 thoughts on “Heart of the school – St Martin of Tours Primary Library

  1. Pingback: Heart of the school - St Martin of Tours Primar...

  2. After visiting your MHS library a few weeks ago, it was such a treat having you visit our library today Tania!

    Thank you for acknowledging the importance of primary school libraries. I am saddened and frustrated that primary school libraries are rapidly disappearing along with teacher librarians. I am currently one of only two full-time primary teacher librarians in our zone. I am fortunate to work in a school where both my teacher librarian role and the library are valued, but a change of Principal means extinction could be lurking around the corner. Earlier in the year I wrote this blog post http://kimyeo.global2.vic.edu.au/2015/01/15/a-library-without-a-librarian-is-a-room/ Recently author Nick Earls won the hearts of teacher librarians when he wrote a blog post advocating the importance of teacher librarians and school libraries https://nickearls.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/its-not-about-shelving-the-books-and-keeping-kids-quiet/

    As a passionate teacher librarian I will continue to the best of my ability to ensure our library is a welcoming, vibrant and inspiring learning space that is an integral part of our school’s teaching and learning program and the hub of our school…for the 530 students I teach each week.

    Thank you for writing such an affirming blog post. Your photos have provided a lovely and rare opportunity for me to see our library through someone else’s eyes…

    Kim 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing your feelings about the precarious nature of school libraries, Kim. We have a voice, at least, but I wonder if it will be heard by the people in whose hands school libraries remain.

      I love photo-blogging great experiences!

  3. Thank you Tania for such a fabulous post about Kim’s library – I feel like I have just visited there and have also had the good fortune to soak up the amazingly positive atmosphere which has been created within this library’s walls to encourage its young students to bathe in the joy of reading!

    Thank you also for highlighting the importance of schools retaining the services of Teacher Librarians. I agree with every word you have written both here and in your other post: Cut the Teacher Librarians last!

    Both you and Kim are an inspiration to those of us who work in school libraries.

    • Bev, thanks so much for coming in and commenting. So glad the post was able to transport you to Kim’s wonderful library. Kim certainly is an inspiration to all teacher librarians.

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