The school library is named after Charles Plumptre Johnson, Chairman of Governors from 1926 to 1938 and generous benefactor of the school. Originally built in 1932 as an assembly and sports hall, it was converted into its present structure in 1972. It is located in the centre of the school campus and provides a quiet area for private study and leisure reading.
The library has a stock of 23,000 books, some 5,500 of which are fiction, as well as a collection of DVDs and classical music, jazz and world music CDs. The range of non-fiction reflects the needs of the school curricula as well as pupils’ personal interests and hobbies. The fiction section contains all classics of literature as well as current popular reading for teenagers and adults. Books and audio-visual materials not held in the library are obtained from the British Library or public libraries. There are five daily newspapers and around 70 magazine titles, including foreign-language papers and periodicals. The library catalogue can be accessed on site on dedicated computers or remotely campus-wide. Electronic research is available on 16 networked computers with access to a range of online databases.
The upstairs gallery seats 70 and is used by the Sixth Form in study periods. During break, lunchtime and after school all pupils make use of library facilities. On the ground floor there are two comfortable reading areas among the papers on the stage and in the fiction section. The Lower Library is dedicated to the Lower School with fiction and non-fiction for Years 7 to 9 and seating to accommodate reading lessons. There is a photocopy room for pupils to use and scanning and colour copying are available on request. New pupils are taught library and research skills in induction sessions and teachers bring classes in to encourage use of a range of information sources.
Opening hours are 8am to 8.30pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 4pm on Saturdays in term time. On Fridays before half terms and exeat weekends the library closes at 5pm.
There are two full-time and two part-time librarians and a team of school prefects to help with library tasks. Members of the Lower School and the Upper School form library committees, which forward suggestions for new additions to stock and contribute to plans for events.
Book Week is celebrated each October and author visits and book sales are arranged throughout the year. Book displays and leaflets promote a variety of topics and advertise new additions to the library.