Moving along…

Over the last few months we’ve been running our Carnegie blog over on Blogger, and I’m sorry, but it’s just so much faster and easier to put posts together than it is on WP.  Embedding is easier and though there’s possibily less funtionality, getting the most out of WordPress requires skills that I either don’t have or don’t have the time and patience to utilise.

So we’re off to Blogger! Join us over there.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Carnegie Blog

Just realised how silent this blog is in comparison to our new Readers’ blog!  Take a look here to see why this one had tumbleweeds all over it.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Carnegie Day


It’s all coming to an end!

Yes, it’s Carnegie announcement day, which means that all of this joy is coming to an end.  But there’s been so much wonderful stuff happening this year!

Last Wednesday we were visited by the Shadowers at Sir John Lawes school across town.  It was fantastic to hear some new opinions on the books, and though some of the discussions were heated, we made some excellent new friends and are really looking forward to doing more with them in the future.  Hopefully they will join us in becoming Nerdfighters! Many thanks to Ms Warman for arranging their visit and piling them all into the minibus.


Then yesterday we had an amazing Shadowing meeting and took part in something very new to us – a Twitter interview with Patrick Ness!  We all settled down with tribute doughnuts, went through the inevitable ICT emergency (why block Twitter school?!  Why?!) but were all set and ready to go at 1.30.  Will and I typed in questions and queries, and Patrick answered them all, giving us an insight into his writing.  The tweets have been archived here, so if you’d like to have a look at our questions, please go ahead!  We’d like to say a huge thank you to Patrick for giving us his time.



And now, the day is here.  Thursday 23rd June.  Carnegie Day.

At 12.30, they will announce the winner of this year’s Carnegie medal, and we’ll know if our Shadowing vote matched that of the judges.  So I guess it’s time to announce our own winner.

The RPS Readers Carnegie Shadowing winner for 2011 is…


Monsters of Men, by Patrick Ness.


This amazing book held us captivated right the way through as the war raged.  Our sympathies were pulled tight across all sides at one time or another and many returned from reading this book with shredding nails!  Those who read it as a stand alone enjoyed it and appreciated the story for what it was enough that some of these readers were among those who voted it their winner.  And those who read the whole trilogy were bowled over by the complexities and involvement that they felt with the characters, all of whom we came to love or admire in some way.  Yes, even the Mayor.  He may be the most wonderful villain ever created.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


37 Shadowers!   I’m sure this should be greeted with a fanfare every time I say it.  Really fab number.  And since that meeting, and the thirty second demolishing of three double sized packets of biscuits, over a dozen reviews have been posted to our Shadowing Blog, at least one for each of the shortlisted novels.  So if you’ve had a look at the shortlist and  you’re not sure where to start, have a look and see what our students think before you make your choice.

Good work everyone!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First reviews trickling in

We don’t have 34 Shadowers anymore.  We have 37.  Aces.

After a slight panic that we wouldn’t be able to buy in enough books for them all (a perfectly justified fear, as it turned out) the Shadowers were asked to chose one book from the shortlist and buy their own copy to then share.  Today several books were added to the Carnegie shelf with just a name scribbled inside, so a huge thank you to those students who have already been shopping and are so generously sharing their books.  Makes me a little bit teary to be honest *sniffs*  Ahem.  Anyway…

The first reviews are up on our blog and have been copied over to our official Shadowing site, hosted by CILIP.  Plans are in the pipeline for some very exciting student participation this year, with videos, fan fiction (including some from the POV of the Spackle from Patrick Ness’s Monsters of Men – awesome) and animated book trailers on their way.  With any luck there’ll be a few surprises before the winner is announced too.

It’s an odd week this week, with only two school days before we run away to largely ignore someone’s wedding, but that means another gorgeously long weekend with plenty of reading time.  Thumbs up, Royals 😉  We’re also celebrating the fact that several of our students were out of school at the University of Hertfordshire Creative Writing Competition Development Day, after having their entries shortlisted. Good luck to them for the next stage too.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Carnegie Shadowing is GO!

This lunchtime saw our first formal meeting of the Carnegie Shadowing group, and they all turned up clutching books and reaching for copies of the shortlist.  All thirty four of them.  Yup.  Thirty four Shadowers this year.  Aces.

Sadly this has caused a bit of a crisis in the book stock department, as although we have 4-5 copies of each of the shortlisted books, some of them have yet to be delivered and even then they are we won’t have enough.  Luckily, our Shadowers have agreed that they will all buy one copy of one of the books and swap them around.  Phew.

Our new site is up and running, and there should be reviews trickling through over the next day or two, as those who grabbed books last Friday are already finishing them off.

This and NaNoWriMo are my favourite times of the year.  I think I even like them more than Christmas…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Mortal Instruments, by Cassandra Clare

Parts I - IV

Clary has grown up thinking that she’s entirely normal, until one day she sees people who others seem to miss, their eyes just skate over them.  Enter the world of the Shadowhunters, where humans born with the blood of an angel in their veins, the Nephilim, fight to defend the world from the evils that would wish humanity harm.  Uneasy alliances with vampires and werewolves, dashing warlocks, a likable heroine and a marvellously sardonic hero make these books a fantastic read.

This is one of those series to get utterly lost in, so if you’re planning to read them, make sure that you have them all lined up.  This is a complex series of many characters, but they are drawn well enough that I found myself gossiping about them with students right away, and I must admit that there is something slightly soap-opera-ish about it all.  Forbidden love (there were several very confused teens wandering around the library muttering, ‘But it’s so right!  And so wrong!’ an evil absent father, a complex history and back story, heroism, awkward and potentially forbidden love (there’s a scene in City of Glass that had us all squealing and clapping our hands), loyalty and revenge. Combined with this is a consistent and workable mythology.  Oh, and really nasty demons and monsters too.  Awesome.  And I’m totally crushing on Luke.


There are some books that you read, love and hug quietly to your chest.  They’re a private experience.  This series is very much a shared one, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the range of its appeal; I’d thought that this might be dismissed as a girly book, but the boys in our reading circle seem to have embraced it just as fully as the girls.  To quote one of them ‘Well, it’s a bit like Twilight, but, you know, good.’

Bring on City of Fallen Angels.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Carnegie Shortlist announced

Yup it’s my favourite time of year again – Carnegie Time!


Our Shadowing group seems to have about doubled in size this year, though it could be even more: we’ll not know until our first official meeting next Wednesday lunchtime, but so far interest levels have been at an all time high.


The shortlist was announced today:

Prisoner of the Inquisition, by Theresa Breslin


Zarita, only daughter of the town magistrate lives a life of ease. Saulo, son of a family reduced by circumstances to begging, swears vengeance, after witnessing his father wrongfully arrested and brutally killed. As the Spanish Inquisition arrives, bringing a climate of suspicion and acts of torture to the town, the fates of Zarita and Saulo intertwine, with tragic consequences.

The Death Defying Pepper Roux, by Geraldine McCaughrean


Pepper Roux awakes on his fourteenth birthday; the day he has been told he must die. He doesn’t want to disappoint, but he doesn’t want to die either. So he goes on the run, setting sail on a sea of adventures, courting mayhem and disaster at every turn. Can he escape his fate – for a while at least?

Monsters of Men, by Patrick Ness


The third and final volume in the “Chaos Walking Trilogy” finds three armies marching on New Prentisstown, each intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle with no chance of escape or, it seems, of stopping the fighting. But then a third voice enters the fray, one bent on revenge.

The Bride’s Farewell, by Meg Rosoff


On the morning of her wedding, Pell Ridley creeps out of bed in the dark, kisses her sisters goodbye and flees on horseback, determined to escape a future that offers nothing but hard work, and sorrow. The road ahead is rich with encounters that lead her closer to the untold story of her past. And she meets a hunter, whose fate also seems strangely entwined with her own.

White Crow, by Marcus Sedgwick


Two lives, two centuries apart, but obsessed by the same question: is there life after death? When city girl Rebecca arrives in the quiet village of Winterfold one relentlessly hot summer, her uneasy friendship with strange, elfin Ferelith sets in motion a shocking chain of events

Out of Shadows, by Jason Wallace


It is Zimbabwe in the 1980s. The civil war is over, independence has been won, and Robert Mugabe has come to power, offering hope, land and freedom to black Africans. For Robert Jacklin, it’s all new too as he gets used to a new continent, a new country, a new school. But he is quickly forced to realise that for many of his fellow pupils, the battle for their old country rages on.


Good list! There were cheers and whoops for some of the books when the list was read out at break time.


This year we’re also taking our Shadowing participation a step further.  Last year some of our members were frustrated by the lack of user functionality on our official Shadowing site (y’know, that one that WON the Shadowing site prize – wooo!) so this year, as well as running that, we’ll be posting to our very own, super-swanky new blog – the Roundwood Readers! We’ll be posting out reviews, thoughts, and book trailers  there, giving us the chance to show you more photos of our process, more videos of our discussions, and more of our ever valuable opinions! Comments and feedback on the student posts would be greatly appreciated.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sorry blog

I know I’ve been neglecting you.  It’s been a crazy busy time, with the regular library stuff, a full time job on its own, getting busier than ever, and a couple of events that have taken up a lot of time but should end up being very beneficial.

The first was the launch of our Trust School Status, a mini-charrette (consultation process) with the Trust Partners (Herts Uni, Sir John Lawes School, Presedence ICT and Rothamsted) that was held at the University on the 22nd March.  Thirteen of our students and a similar number from SJL went along to talk through plans and ideas about how the Trust could be work for the schools and what we could all bring to the mix.  Our students did so well and spoke eloquently and confidently, often leading discussion and feedback sessions.  I know the staff at the University and the Trust partners were very impressed with all of them!  Of course, knowing what they’re all like it wasn’t a huge surprise for me, though Alex’s capacity for crisps came as a bit of a surprise, and Max’s attachment to the flipboard pens was a little worrying.  Congratulations to everyone who took part though.

The second was my trip up to Cambridge for the Cambridge Librarians’ TeachMeet.  It was my first one and I’d taken the bold step of agreeing to present, which may have been a little foolhardy.  It was a wonderful evening though, and I learned a lot from all there as well as having the chance to put names to Twitter names! My presentation went well though, and you can see it here:

The notes are available over here.

And now with these over, I’m clear to focus on my favourite part of the library year.  It’s Carnegie Shadowing time!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Have been playing with the avatar generator on the Skullduggery Pleasant site.


Complete with roller derby nose plaster.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment