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What does the Library Look Like?

By Mrs Edwards, Reading Lead and Mrs Campling, School Librarian

Discover what is on offer at the OWPS Library

At Orton Wistow Primary School we believe in developing a ‘Love of Reading’ and that teaching reading well is a moral obligation. 

At Wistow we have known for many years that being a successful reader can eliminate the impact of a pupil’s socio-economic background status and give them the tools that they need to access the curriculum as a whole: improving their life prospects as a result.

We aim to develop confident, fluent and enthusiastic readers by the time they leave primary school. Reading is delivered in daily phonics lessons for our younger children and in daily whole class reading sessions for all of our children. Alongside this, we are fully aware of the vital role that engaging in high quality texts plays in our pupils’ reading journey.

Each child has access to the library and time with our librarian in order to enable them to access texts which not only support their progress at their current level (usually colour band and Accelerated Reader), but equally as importantly - books which spark their enthusiasm and foster a ‘Love of Reading’

Research by the Institute of Education has also found that the benefits of reading continue as children get older, with the combined effect on children's progress at 16 of regularly reading books and newspapers and visiting the library “four times greater than the advantage children gained from having a parent with a degree”. In short, reading can achieve something teachers and policymakers have been attempting for decades: to lessen or even eliminate the impact of early life disadvantage.

This document sets out how this is delivered to our pupils and works in conjunction with the ‘What Does Reading Look Like?’ and the ‘What Does Phonics Look Like?’ documents.

What is Available?


Class visits




Minimum 30 mins whole class input/experience with flexibility

Class visits are a timetabled curriculum event. Each class has a fortnightly slot in which to visit the library and choose from a menu of different library or reading based activities such as:

-quiet reading

-being read to from the class text, a topic related text, or another text

-interactive story based activities such as soundscaping and collaborative storytelling 

-tasters of new books or potential new books

-library based team challenges such as finding books about x or containing certain words

-encyclopedia exploration

During this time children are able to change books if necessary but it is not to be the main focus.

There is flexibility for KM or intervention groups to have additional time after the class visit if required.

Book changing

All books except colour bands must be signed out of the library either by the librarian or on the sign-out sheet available.

Book changing can be done at the following times:

- independently at the end of the school day (between 3 & 3:15, max 5 children from each class at a time)

-during the morning with a TA or other adult 

-during the class visit

-at lunchtime if in possession of a library pass

Operational Systems

Each class has a spreadsheet with tabs for each term. Childrens’ loans are recorded here under the relevant week. 

A paper sign out sheet is also available in the library and records are transferred onto the spreadsheet by the librarian.

There is a searchable library catalogue.

These are accessible to all staff here: 

Variety of texts

The library houses approx 5000 texts, both fiction and non-fiction. Fiction is diverse in age (ranging from classics such as Oliver Twist to new releases) and in content. 


We believe all our children should be able to see themselves represented in books and pride ourselves on maintaining a diverse collection, injecting new texts throughout the year. This is achieved through following the childrens’ book awards, publishing houses, blogs, and by shopping almost exclusively through A New Chapter Bookshop, which specialises in promoting BAME, neurodiverse, marginalised voices in fiction. 


We also have a dedicated area for Years 5 & 6 which is largely books with more mature content.

The library also caters for a wide range of abilities, with dedicated shelves for colour bands, HiLo Accelerated Reader, picture books, dyslexia friendly books, poetry, graphic novels, and non-fiction.

Non-Fiction texts are separated into KS1 and general. General NF is organised in a loose Dewey categorisation:

000 - general knowledge & computing

100 - thoughts & feelings

200 - religion & belief

300 - our society

400 - languages

500 - natural sciences

600 - applied sciences & technology

700 - art & play

900 - geography & history


Each NF text is labeled with a number (e.g. 500) and the shelves are clearly labeled with subsections (e.g. Animals, Sealife, Weather). There is also a selection of reference texts such as encyclopedias which children can access in the library or use in class.

Curriculum Support

Teachers are able to access both fiction and NF texts to support the topics being taught in class. 

Topic boxes are kept topped up in the library for Years 1-4 containing topic-related texts for children to use and borrow. For Years 5&6 these are supplied termly in baskets. 

Any additional requests can be directed to the librarian and books can sometimes be supplied from the city libraries.

Classroom books

As a school we have access to the ‘Boys Into Books’ scheme provided by Peterborough Libraries, which provides us with a box of age-appropriate fiction for each class in school. These are changed termly. (Currently unavailable due to Covid).

Teachers can also request books to be supplied for class book corners (or can help themselves at the start of term).


A story writing club is run for KS2 on a Monday after school.

Children can access the library at lunch time on a Tuesday or Thursday with a Library Pass to either change books, spend time reading quietly etc.

Children can access the library with a parent on an allocated day after school (until 3:30)

-Years 1 & 2 on Tuesday

-Years 3 & 4 on Thursday

-Years 5 & 6 on Friday

Year 6 Book Club on Friday lunchtimes.


The library has an active Twitter account sharing book news, what’s going on in the library and across the school, as well as local/national events and competitions.


There are Year 6 Library Ambassadors who have various responsibilities such as keeping on top of shelving and tidying, supporting FS & KS1 library visits, helping the librarian with general jobs.


The current librarian is writing content for the School Library Association. 

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash