We use cookies to provide you with the best experience on our website and to improve our communications with you. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies on this website. If you wish, however, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Click “find out more” for detailed information about how cookies are used on this website. Find out more

Larkmead School Case Study

We’re using Oliver v5 all day every day, so speed and reliability are fundamental. Softlink and Oliver v5 provide that.

Linda Stone, LRC Manager
At a Glance
Chosen Solution
Core Benefits to Users
  • ​Streamlined administration
  • Student engagement
Supported Users
  • approx. 800 students
Library Staff
  • 1 LRC Manager and 1 part-time LRC Assistant

About Larkmead School

Larkmead School is a co-educational state secondary school located in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. The school offers a unique learning environment built on community and diversity, where staff are committed to ensuring every student is equipped to succeed and make a real difference in a demanding and changing world.

Larkmead provides its students with an exceptional range of opportunities to learn and achieve, both inside and outside of the classroom. In January 2019, the school received an OFSTED continued rating of ‘Strongly Good, the stimulating and caring ethos in the school enables pupils to make strong progress and achieve well’.

The entire school shares a particular focus on reading, with an average of twenty minutes dedicated reading time built into each school day.

In addition, regular library lessons and reading-related activities like book quizzes and friendly competitions help build excitement and enthusiasm around books and the library.

Larkmead students in the LRC

According to Learning Resource Centre (LRC) Manager, Linda Stone, this school-wide focus helps ensure books and reading become an essential part of students’ lives.

“There are always activities in the LRC with the key focus of promoting regular reading habits.”

In addition to their own internal activities the school also takes part in the annual Carnegie Shadowing Programme, The Oxfordshire Book Awards scheme and the worldwide Kids Lit Quiz.

The Learning Resource Centre – the heart of Larkmead School

The LRC occupies a central role at Larkmead School, providing an accessible and diverse space that supports the school’s focus on learning but in particular reading and literacy. The centre is open to all, and regularly welcomes parents and other volunteers who assist students with reading.

Linda said the LRC’s accessibility was key to its importance within the school, as it offers extended opening hours before and after school and during breaks, as well as a versatile space for independent study, library lessons, meetings and activities. She added that students particularly enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere cultivated within the LRC.

Carnegie tea at Larkmead

“Students like the friendly, vibrant, colourful space and the many activities we organise throughout the year.”

The large fiction collection is another drawcard for students, and Linda noted that the school leadership team are very supportive of the LRC and in helping to maintain an up-to-date, relevant collection within the modern library space. She said all these aspects of the LRC contributed to making it approachable for students, as well as being an enjoyable place to work.

“I really enjoy the variety of my role. Celebrating reading success and promoting activities and events are highlights.”

“Everything about my role is positive – you’re just moving forward all the time.”

Oliver v5 a reliable tool

With so much going on in the Larkmead LRC, a reliable library management system is essential to ensuring all the necessary administrative tasks can be carried out efficiently and with ease. Linda said Larkmead’s Oliver v5 hosted solution was ideal for their needs.

“We’re using Oliver v5 all day every day, so speed and reliability are fundamental. Softlink and Oliver v5 provide that.”

She added that staff found the system very intuitive and easy to use.

“Both students and staff find it easy to navigate Oliver v5 and quickly find what they’re looking for.”

Oliver v5 helps engage students in the LRC

Linda said several of the features in Oliver v5 particularly appealed to students and helped them to become more active readers and to search the collection independently.

“The recommended reading features really help engage students,” she said.

In addition, staff appreciate the ability to see book covers in the new search interface.

“It helps us in our interactions with students. It’s great to be able to show students the cover of books we’re talking about.”

Looking ahead with Oliver v5

Linda said the ability to watch recorded webinars and access clearly structured written notifications allowed her to stay abreast of updates and new features in Oliver v5 and to fit in ongoing training alongside the demands and time constraints of her role.

She said she looked forward to taking advantage of the variety of training options and support services available via the new Oliver v5 Customer Community Portal.

Further Reading: