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SLYA Citation for Anne-Marie Tarter


  • Ripon Grammar School, North Yorkshire
    Nominated by Ashley Casey, Physical Education teacher, Ripon Grammar School
Anne Marie Tarter being presented with her Honour Certificate by SLA President Aidan Chambers
Anne Marie Tarter being presented with her
Honour Certificate by SLA President Aidan Chambers

Ripon Grammar School is a high-achieving establishment with entry based on selection, and in her fifteen years there Anne-Marie has transformed its library from oak-panelled, unused inertia to the dynamic heart of the school. The library is moderate in size, but with clear differentiation of functions to maximise the space, and with a mezzanine floor inserted four years ago thanks to the fundraising efforts of Anne-Marie and which houses 17 workstations, there is seating for 78 students. The environment is busy but not cluttered. Enticing displays and promotions are given prominence – how can you ignore ‘Do you dare to read one of our mystery books? – ask at the counter for a brown paper bag’, for instance. The stock is not large, but wisely Anne-Marie has ensured there is room for adult titles among the fiction, and for a non-fiction stock which encompasses much besides the National Curriculum. Wider reading is greatly encouraged, and all departments are involved in stock thinning and selection. Whole school ownership of the library is vital to the level of its usage.

Teachers recognise Anne-Marie as a partner in project work teaching, and an average of 12 classes take place in the library every week, with Anne-Marie team-teaching on each occasion. Her input is centred on research strategies and information literacy skills, and looking at different information sources. The homework she sets will typically mark the process, not the product, and any weaknesses in students’ research skills are reported to teachers in order to provide extra support. There is a structured induction programme spanning the whole year. Anne-Marie is instrumental in developing students who are skilled at setting their own learning objectives. Much emphasis is placed on the importance of independent learning, and in addition to the library lessons there are up to 60 sixth formers undertaking private study in the library at any time. Anne-Marie’s expertise has long-term usefulness for the students, who leave the school well-versed in library and research skills which will serve them well at university and in later life.

All students have registration in the library twice a term, during which they can browse the fiction and discuss reading choices with their peers and with staff.
There is a reading group for Year 7’s, a 6th form group which grew out of Carnegie shadowing, and one for teachers (The Dead Teachers Society). In all these Anne-Marie sees herself as a facilitator only, with students (and teachers) making decisions and planning activities. She has entered the school for Reading Champions, and activities such as Readathon and World Book Day are complemented by in-house events such as “Murder in the Library” and all-night read-ins.

Anne-Marie works closely with Ripon College, a neighbouring school, with whom shared events such as a Poetry Day and Non-Fiction Day have been held, and together they entered two teams for Kids Lit Quiz. This co-operative working has led to external funding from the British Library and to the development of a joint school library management system.

Anne-Marie is an outstanding librarian at the heart of her school. She supports all teachers and in return has their full support. She knows there are areas for improvement – how to entice Key Stage 4 students into the library, for instance - but through annual library plans, reports and self-evaluations, she ensures that the library maintains its high profile within the management of the school. Anne-Marie is well-known for her work in promoting and developing school libraries generally through the School Libraries Group of CILIP, and for her numerous training sessions delivered and articles written. Her links with the wider world of school librarianship bring further benefit to the students at Ripon, by enhancing her ability to offer them a deep well of expertise and knowledge.