Q&A with Peters’ Educational Relationship Manager, Oonagh Towse

February 25th, 2019

Sit down with a cuppa and enjoy our Q&A with Oonagh Towse, Peters’ Educational Relationship Manager.

You visit many schools up and down the UK, advising teachers on how to equip their schools with the right resources. Why is it important for children to have access to a dedicated librarian and a central reading space?

In an ideal world all schools would have a dedicated librarian and a well-stocked school library. The library should be the hub of the school, a comfortable space where children have access to a school’s book stock allowing them to explore texts they may not have seen before.  School librarians do a fabulous job identifying which books will appeal to individual children, encouraging a climate of reading throughout the school as a whole.  

What advice can you give to schools who want to improve their library stock?

Try to keep the books relevant and up to date. Make sure your books look appealing; if the books are old and torn it may be time to replace them. Try to put some budget aside and purchase on a regular basis. If you need help, our qualified staff can assist by putting together lists of suggested texts, and we also offer a library audit service.  

What do schools usually ask for when it comes to books for their library?

Every school is different; most schools are aware of A list authors, however we can help schools find books written by authors they may never have heard of. We can also support schools who require age-appropriate texts for their struggling readers, or dual language texts for children with EAL.

A school’s non-fiction stock usually depends on their school topics, and we can work together to identify both fiction and non-fiction books to support school topics, as well as leisure non-fiction titles to interest the children and reflect their hobbies.    

What do you find most challenging in your role?

Lack of budget. We do try to stretch budgets as much as possible, however working with our qualified children’s librarians and curriculum specialists ensures that budget is spent on quality books that will inspire and stimulate a passion for reading. We receive many messages from schools thanking us for our support from stocking whole school libraries to identifying books to support just one child.   

How can teachers inspire children and teenagers to read for pleasure?

Share your love of reading and books. Enjoy story time, from early years to year 6 and beyond we all like to hear a story. When new books arrive in school tell your children, make it an event and ensure you have as wide a range of material as possible. Keep in touch with what is happening in the wider world of children’s literature, this eGazette will help support this.

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