A reading revolution at the Centre for Lifelong Learning

26 January 2018

Against the national trend of reduced book borrowing figures in libraries, the Library at the Centre for Lifelong Learning has seen a significant increase in students borrowing and renewing books so far this teaching year.

 This represents a striking development with an encouraging 13% increase in issues and 7% increase in renewals during the autumn term. 

This turnaround has been achieved in collaboration with Curriculum Leader for English Mary Browne who has led an initiative to promote recreational reading to students with a focus on creative writing through the centuries. In tandem with this English FS classes have undertaken a programme of Encouraging reading visits to the Library involving a member of the Library team giving a guided tour of fiction books appropriate to their level. The visits focused on guided readers and general fiction books in a range of genres including romances, thrillers, fantasy, crime, war and science fiction. 

Students were then tasked with choosing at least one book to borrow with guidance on hand from Library staff and their tutor. In doing so they were also able to consult a reading map the Library had produced based on the London tube map with each line representing a genre and each station representing a fiction book held in the Library.

Mary Browne commented: “I’m really pleased to hear that more students than ever, are taking books from the library.  Our strategies to engage learners in a regular and personal reading habit are paying off.  This is down to students engaging with the importance of reading but also the hard work of staff who are managing to get the message across so skilfully.”

Meanwhile the Library’s annual promotion of the national initiative Reading Ahead (formerly the Six Book Challenge) continues to build on past success. The Library works closely with tutors in encouraging the student participants to complete their reading diaries which comprise brief appraisals of six books, short stories or articles they have read. World Book Night in April each year also forms a focus point with class activities taking place in the Library. On an ongoing basis there are twice-weekly lunchtime reading groups for ESOL students at all levels and a weekly conversation practice group for intermediate ESOL students involving discussion around printed articles and worksheets. 

Library Team Leader Simon Nelson said: “We are delighted that so many of our students have become regular book borrowers. Our challenge now is to foster this enthusiasm for reading so that they gain the confidence to fulfil their potential and achieve their study goals.” 

The Centre for Lifelong Learning

Centre for Lifelong Learning

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