Library of the Week: 23rd January 2023: Our very first featured library for 2023 is Bishop Grosseteste University! Find out more about the incredible ‘Teaching Resources Collection’ in this brilliant post written by Emma Sansby, Head of Library Services at Bishop Grosseteste University. Thank you for taking part.
A Cherished Collection
At Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) in Lincoln, there is one particular space designed to encourage a love of reading. From the colourful illustrated panels featuring sophisticated picture book artistry by Jackie Morris and Ruth Brown to the wall of glass windows letting in natural light and framing pleasant views of campus, the ‘Teaching Resources Collection’ inspires joy, curiosity and imagination. In this bespoke room, readers can discover over 24,000 resources – most of which are books written for children and young adults – housed in the Library specifically to support trainee teachers and students on programmes such as Early Childhood Studies and English Literature. The Teaching Resources Collection also directly benefits the schools (some of which will have no librarian of their own) in which BGU’s trainee teachers carry out their placements, through the curation and promotion of high-quality resources in the classroom.
The University’s new Masters programme in Children’s Literature and Literacies takes full advantage of its decades of expertise in education and English literature and of the rich pickings of the Teaching Resources Collection. Children’s Literature can be overlooked by some as an academic subject, unaware of the sophisticated way it covers diverse and wide-ranging topics. Or, that it often serves as a bridge in understanding both art and literature because of the pictorial elements and audiovisual nature of its narratives. Moreover, from an educational point of view, the study of children’s literature serves an important role in building practical skills in young readers, such as children’s understanding of universal themes, characters, settings, and conceptions of time and historical periods. It also reaches children on an emotional level—just as all great literature moves the soul. More specifically, the extensive resources in the Teaching Resources Collection allow for the study of children’s literature through major authors and illustrators, fiction and non-fiction, and poetry and prose. Classic works by Anthony Browne and Shirley Hughes sit alongside contemporary authors such as Joseph Coelho (the current Children’s Laureate), Levi Pinfold and Malorie Blackman.
Holdings in the Teaching Resources Collection are split into two sections: Teachers’ Resources and Children’s Resources. Teacher’s Resources includes National Curriculum documents, government reports, reading and phonic schemes, educational textbooks, teaching handbooks and lesson planning guides. Children’s Resources include picture books, fiction and non‐fiction books, big books, dual language books, novelty books, resource packs, artefacts boxes, puppet bags and Storysacks®.
Highlights from the Children’s Resources include over 800 traditional and modern folk and fairy tales; a selection of American fiction, world fiction and books translated into English from other languages; a facsimile collection of the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books; and every winner of CILIP’s Yoto Carnegie Medals for Writing and Illustration (previously known as the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals). Large numbers of other prizewinning books are also represented in the Collection, awarded by national organisations such as the School Library Association and the United Kingdom Literacy Association, international organisations such as the International Board on Books for Young People and the American Library Association, and also including regional and local prizes such as the NE Book Awards, the Salford Children’s Book Prize, and the Scottish Teenage Book Prize. This range of perspectives ensures that critically acclaimed books are balanced with titles popular with teachers and children.
The Library welcomed CILIP’s 2017 Diversity Review of the (then) Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards, which led to its current mission to “reflect all identities and promote diversity”. This has also been a specific focus for the University’s Teaching Resources Librarian in recent years, complementing the many themed bibliographies (of books in the Teaching Resources Collection) they have published over the past decade on related topics such as feelings and worries, refugees and asylum seekers, disability, and family diversity.
The Teaching Resources Librarian works closely with academics to engage students; new additions to stock have been studied as part of the curriculum, and educators and authors including Neil Griffiths and Prue Goodwin (both recipients of honorary doctorates from the University) have visited the campus to share their rich knowledge and experience. The Teaching Resources Librarian also (jointly, with a senior lecturer) edits a biannual children’s literature newsletter – known as Hullabaloo! until 2018 and more recently as The Four Corners – to actively promote the Collection and the joy of reading for pleasure. The newsletter has also served as a means for BGU students to publish book reviews associated with their involvement in UKLA and CILIP book prize shadowing schemes. Copies of Hullabaloo! and The Four Corners are freely available online.
One of the last major acquisitions for the Teaching Resources Collection was a significant donation of over 400 books from the personal collection of the aforementioned Prue Goodwin, an educator and author, and herself a BGU alumna. The donation includes novels, picture books and poetry anthologies which reflect not only educational themes, but narratives of resilience and a diversity of characters making their way in the world. We were honoured that Prue chose BGU as the custodian of her books, which are particularly significant in the way they highlight trends in children’s publishing over the past three decades, and which have served to further enrich the unique and distinctive character of the Collection.
 The University was founded in 1862 as an Anglican teacher training college for women. To mark its centenary in 1962 it was named Bishop Grosseteste College – for Robert Grosseteste, renowned medieval scientist, theologian and educator, and Bishop of Lincoln from 1235-1253 – and gained university status during its 150th year in 2012. With a student body of around 2,500 its current curriculum portfolio spans levels from Foundation Year to Doctoral level and, whilst concentrated in the humanities and social sciences, includes programmes such as business, sport and data science. The University Library is home to approximately 145,000 print resources, with many more available online, and employs a team of 13 staff.
Emma Sansby, Head of Library Services
All images copyright of Bishop Grosseteste University reproduced with kind permission of the copyright holder.