Knowledge Matters blog

04 December 2023

British Library school services

We’re currently experiencing a major technology outage due to a cyber-attack

However, most of our in-person and online events for schools in St Pancras and Leeds are going ahead.  

Workshops in London 

The Library in St Pancras remains fully open and we’re continuing to welcome schools as usual.

To book a free visit or find out more information, please email [email protected]. Booking is essential

Fantasy: Realms of Imagination exhibition workshops
Until 23 February 
English, English Literature | Primary: Years 3 – 6 / Secondary and FE: Years 7 – 13 

This workshop will lead your group through our major exhibition, Fantasy: Realms of Imagination. Along the way students will analyse the conventions of the fantasy genre and create their own narratives. 

Malorie Blackman: The Power of Stories exhibition workshops 
Primary: Years 3 – 6 / Secondary and FE: Years 7 – 13 

Celebrate one of Britain’s most read authors in our latest exhibition. Tailored workshops with our Learning Facilitators will take students on a tour of the exhibition and explore the creative process behind Malorie Blackman’s writing. 

Self-guided visits
60 minutes | Primary: Years 3 – 6 / Secondary and FE: Years 7 - 13 

These flexible visits enable you to lead your group to explore public spaces and Treasures Gallery. We provide a printed resource to support your visit with activities for learners and information about the Library for teachers. 

Making Artists’ Books
90 minutes | Art and Design | Primary: Years 3 – 6 / Secondary and FE: Years 7 – 13 

Learners will make their own artists’ books in this hands-on workshop. They will discover what an artist’s book is and why they are made. 

Exploring Sacred Texts
90 minutes | Religious Education | Primary: Years 4 – 6 / Secondary and FE: Years 7 – 13 

This workshop explores the richness and diversity of sacred texts from different religions. Learners will look at special texts on display in our Treasures Gallery and engage with items from our digitised collection.  

Once upon a Time: Tell a Story
60 minutes | English, Literacy | Primary: Years 1 – 2 

Students take a well-known story and develop storytelling skills through performance, strengthening their literacy and language skills. These sessions have been made possible thanks to support from Old Possum’s Practical Trust. 

Once upon a Time: Make a Story
60 minutes | English, Literacy | Primary: Years 1 – 2 

Students will create a new story as a class, developing their literacy and language skills through imaginative play. These sessions have been made possible thanks to support from Old Possum’s Practical Trust. 

Listen Up! Dive into Sound
90 minutes | English, Literacy, Cross-curricular | Primary: Years 4 – 6 

Hear recordings from our sound archive, from environmental sounds and speeches. This workshop explores how sound can transform a space and capture the imagination. 

Listen Up! Sound Lab
90 minutes | Music, Cross-curricular, Well-being | Primary: Years 4 – 6 

Students use a range of techniques to create, collect, amplify, mix, layer and record sound in this hands-on session. 

Research Matters
90 minutes| Information Literacy, Cross-curricular | Primary: Years 5 – 6 

Information literacy, investigation, observation, questioning and source analysis techniques feature in this workshop on research skills. 

Voyage into Maps
90 minutes | Geography, Art and Design, History | Primary: Years 3 – 6  

Students will explore maps on display in our Treasures Gallery, thinking critically about their many uses and styles. 

Windrush Voices
90 minutes | History, English Literature | Secondary and FE: Years 10 – 13 

This session explores the arrival of the Empire Windrush in Essex in 1948 and the wider social and historical context of this moment. Students will investigate the experiences of Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s. 

Exploring Black British Literature
120 minutes | English Literature | Secondary and FE: Years 10 – 13 

Explore the rich history of Black writing and literature in Britain. Students will reflect on the plurality of themes in a variety of Black British texts using digitised manuscripts and recordings from our collection. 

Sounds Familiar?
90 minutes | English Literature | Secondary and FE: Years 10 – 13 
Also available as an online workshop 

Uncover ways of analysing speech, accent and dialect. This session explores language change and variation, and regional vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar in the UK. 

Develop Your Writing: RLF Bridge
All-day session | History, English Literature, Cross-curricular | Secondary and FE: Years 12 – 13 
Also available as an online workshop 

This one-day workshop will improve students’ confidence in academic writing. Run by Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellows. 

Workshops and experiences in Leeds

Workshops and experiences in Leeds are still available. Scheduled bookings in Leeds will go ahead as planned. 

To book or find out more information, please email [email protected]

Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens
At Temple Newsam 
All-day session | History | Secondary: Years 7 – 11 

Experience Tudor life and explore the turbulent relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots. Find out more on the Temple Newsam website

Write Like a Poet 
Delivered in your school. Exclusive to LS postcodes. 
English, Literacy, Drama | Primary: Years 3 – 6 

Learn new ways to tell stories through poetry. Respond to poems by James Berry, Grace Nichols and John Agard in this creative writing workshop.  

Graphic Novels Dramatised
Delivered in your school, exclusive to LS postcodes 
English, Literacy, Drama | Primary: Years 3 – 6 

Use drama to share stories in new ways. Explore the story and issues behind Sarah Garland’s graphic novel, Azzi in Between, in our interactive drama workshop.  

Sounds Like a Story
Delivered in your school, exclusive to LS postcodes 
English, Literacy, Drama | Primary: Years 3 – 6 

Explore the role of sound in storytelling, with Sally Pomme Clayton and Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif’s The Phoenix of Persia. Pupils will be introduced to vocal percussion and sound effect techniques. 

Step Inside Your Story

Our competition to win £50 of National Book Tokens for your school remains live until its scheduled close at 17.00 on 4 December 2023. Children are invited to make books about themselves. Adults can share children’s creations on X (Formerly Twitter), tagging @BL_Learning, or send photos by email to [email protected].  

For inspiration please watch our videos: 

Please contact us at [email protected]

  • For information about the prize and how we decide the winners
  • To request a copy of the competition terms and conditions.

Contacting us

While our systems are offline, you can contact the Library by emailing [email protected].  

This mailbox is checked between 08.30 to 16.30 Monday to Friday. Please note, however, that the Library is receiving a very high volume of enquiries at the moment. Please bear with our Customer Services team who will respond as soon as they can. We’d like to thank all of our users and partners for your continued understanding.

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