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THOMOND COMMUNITY COLLEGE JCSP LIBRARY
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Thomond Community College is the only school in Limerick to employ a professional JCSP librarian, Jane Bingham-Shee. The library was completely revamped and extended in 2015.
The main purpose of the library is to support reading for pleasure and lifelong learning. Students and staff are all very welcome to make suggestions to the librarian about types of books and resources they would like to see in the library. The library receives an annual grant to allow the librarian to update the library stock and to fund library activities and events for the students.
JCSP library activities include borrowing and reading books, research and homework, supported project work, JCSP initiatives, quiet reading, group reading using class sets of books, educational games, rap workshops and listening to stories. The library also welcomes guest speakers such as poets, rappers, storytellers and authors to inspire the students at the school. The JCSP library is not a silent empty place but rather a vibrant active learning space at the heart of the school. The library is involved in promoting interest in many school subjects, for example organising events for Science Week, Maths Week, French Week and College Awareness Week.
The library is open at lunchtime and after school for study, homework, and research, using computers or simply for reading for pleasure. Teachers can bring their classes to the library during class time for JCSP funded library activities.
All JCSP classes are entitled to a minimum of two library classes a week in the library. All JCSP students who come to the library benefit from the Accelerated Reading programme. Accelerated Reader is a tool for monitoring and managing independent reading practice, and motivating students to read for pleasure. The students are tested using STAR reading tests to assess their reading levels. They are then directed to books in the library that have been colour coded to correspond to these reading levels. The students can also do quizzes to assess their comprehension of the books they are reading. All junior students are entitled to Accelerated Reader classes in the JCSP library. The students are tested regularly to monitor their progress and their reading levels.
There is a book club for parents so that they also enjoy reading for pleasure. Parents meet to discuss books and have coffee in relaxed informal environment.
The JCSP library is also the venue for intensive literacy and numeracy mornings for first year students. The students work in small groups at stations with their teachers and the librarian to receive extra tuition in Maths and English. This early intervention gives students an excellent start in their post-primary education.
Students at Thomond Community College are strongly encouraged by their teachers and the librarian to read for pleasure. Students can borrow books for themselves and for their family members. The librarian does not fine students for late returns because she wants borrowing books to be a positive experience for all. Many studies have shown that students who read for pleasure do better in their exams.
The librarian provides an outreach service to other DEIS schools in Limerick. The librarian provides advice to schools on setting up reading spaces and libraries in their school and also does annual outreach writing competitions to promote literacy in Limerick.