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To provide all of our students with access to an independent learning space, an area to access both physical and digital learning resources to support their educational journey – as well as offer an environment in which to relax and socialise, to play and engage the imagination. An area for our students and guided by the needs of the children, we are here to serve.


Our new library space (the LRC) began development early in 2022, and first opened in September 2022, offering students access to a comprehensive ‘fiction’ and ‘subject-specific’ catalogue of texts – with new materials being selected by both students and staff to create a well-rounded inventory to engage and support all with reading, both for attainment and reading for pleasure.  Our LRC is currently situated across two joining spaces; the ‘Library Room’ (providing access to our reading inventory) and the ‘Quiet Area’ (with some additional seating and ICT access).


The LRC is open daily at break times and lunch, as well as both before and after school.

Morning = 8am to 8:25am

Break times = 11am to 11:20am

Lunch times = 1:25pm to 2:00pm

After-school = 3:10pm to 4pm.

The LRC is open to everyone in the morning and after-school, but to access the space at break and lunch time, students must apply for a pass.  Application forms can be collected from the library and need to be completed by both the student and a parent / carer.  We ask that this document is read completely before it is signed and returned (passes will be available for collection 24 hours after submitting this form).


All students receive a library account when they enrol at Arena Academy.  This account allows all students to take out up to four books at a time, for a loan period of three-weeks – with ‘return’ dates stamped inside the books, to allow students to know when a book is due for return.  If the student has not finished the book by the due date, they are welcome to bring it to the library, where we can renew the book a further two times (for a total loan period of nine weeks).


All students are welcome to access our LRC and are expected to follow the school expectations for conduct and behavior.  If a student is in breach of these expectations, they will receive a warning.  A total of three warnings will be issued over the course of the academic year.  If a student exceeds this, their LRC pass will be withdrawn for the remainder of the academic year (students will be able to re-apply in September).

Regarding the borrowing of resources, all students are required to be responsible for any items loaned from the LRC – including the safe return of these items on, or before, the agreed return date.  In the event of loss or serious damage to any loaned item, we kindly request that is the responsibility of the parent / carer to either provide a replacement copy of the item or assist the school by covering the cost of any replacements.  Thank you.


As part of our daily running, the LRC offers our students many opportunities for support and participation – with ‘Games Clubs’ taking place during lunch times and ‘Homework Club’ after-school.  We also run a ‘Book Club’ on Wednesdays (after-school), in which students can select a shared book title to read and discuss – these clubs are open to all students.

To encourage student engagement with independent reading, we run various promotions throughout the year, linking to areas of our diverse ‘Fiction’ section:

October: ‘Halloween Promotion’ – linked to our ‘Supernatural’ genre section.

December: ‘Festive Reads’ – linking to our ‘Fantasy’ genre section.

February: ‘Valentines’ – linking to our ‘Romance’ genre section.

July: ‘Summer Adventures’ – linked to our ‘Action’ genre section.

All promotions are supported with prizes and rewards and are open to all students to take part in.  We also run competitions…

The LRC also works closely with the National Literacy Trust, as part of World Book Day in March.  As well as giving away ‘World Book Day’ vouchers to all students, the LRC also provides library visitors with free books from the NLT.  In March 2023, we gave away over 120 free books to our students – with further free books being awarded as part of our regular competitions and student submission of book reviews.


Book reviews are an important part of our students’ library experience – as student opinion can help advise other students on books worth exploring, as well as influence the future book choices the LRC offers to our students.  All book reviews are voluntary and all completed reviews will receive a free book (kindly provided by the National Literacy Trust) as a reward for their hard work. 

As part of our CORE Trust commitment to encourage independent reading, our school library promotes ‘Book of the Month’.  Since September 2022, working with our librarians and staff, we have shared with our students’ books that we feel will interest them and engage their imaginations – linking to events and issues that are relevant to current times and society in which we live. Our library stocks copies of each of these texts, for our students to borrow and enjoy.


As part of the CORE Academies Trust, we are keen to promote reading to all of our students – outside of the key texts that make up the curriculum content.  To this end, the Trust staff have created the ‘CORE Canon’, a list of 31 book titles we recommend to students as important and enjoyable reads:

  1. Anne Frank – The Diary of Anne Frank
  2. Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray
  3. Roald Dahl – Complete Collection
  4. Markus Zuzak – The Book Thief
  5. Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien – The Lord of the Rings Series
  7. Yuval Noah Harari – Sapiens
  8. Meera Syal – Anita and Me
  9. John Green – The Fault in Our Stars
  10. Khaled Hosseini – A Thousand Splendid Suns
  11. Phillip Pullman – His Dark Materials Series
  12. John Agard – Collected Works
  13. George Orwell – 1984
  14. Simon Armitage – Collected Works
  15. J.K. Rowling – The Harry Potter Series
  16. Patrick Ness – A Monster Calls
  17. Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights 
  18. Malorie Blackman – Noughts and Crosses Series
  19. Angie Thomas – The Hate You Give
  20. Willy Russell – Our Day Out
  21. Kathryn Stockett – The Help
  22. Robert Louis Stevenson – The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  23. Benjamin Zephaniah – Collected Works
  24. F.Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
  25. Mary Shelley – Frankenstein
  26. Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games Series
  27. Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale
  28. Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice
  29. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes Series
  30. Charles Dickens – Oliver Twist
  31. William Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet

All titles are available are available from the LRC and promoted throughout the school – why not loan one and write a review (prizes available).


As part of our school ethos, we are also committed to student involvement and participation – encouraging shared ownership of the LRC space through our involvement of student librarians – or ‘Library Ambassadors’.  These students not only play a key role in the daily running of the LRC space, but also helping to shape it and influence how it runs to support students – such as providing book reviews and recommendations, helping to select book titles to appeal to their peers.

‘I really like being a library ambassador because it keeps me busy and I am able to earn extra core points. There is a variety of things to do and all you have to do is ask the librarian, Ms. Fellows. There are jobs to be done, such as: sorting the bookshelves – making sure they are neat and tidy, taking the register, helping to laminate the books and much more! The library is a great place for playing board games, reading and relaxing. It is an enjoyable environment to help out in. I have a great time as a library ambassador, and I am sure others will too!’

  • Amrit (Year 8)

If you are in Year 8-to-10 and would like to apply for this role, please visit the LRC and pick up an application form (new members are asked to submit applications in September, with selection and training taking place in October).


The following are useful links to encourage reading outside of school:

Birmingham Library Association:

Gutenberg Online Books:

National Literacy Trust:

BookTrust (World Book Day):

The Yoto Carnegies ‘Shadowing’ Reading Competition:

The Reader (Reading Support Organisation):