In May 2015, Oundle’s Prince William School began a campaign seeking the donation of books to the school’s library.
Mrs Elaine Galer, the school’s librarian, tweeted an appeal on May 2nd 2015, and her tweet received the recognition of world renowned English author Neil Gaiman, who retweeted the message and spread the word to his two million strong group of followers.
Gaiman himself is an author of short fiction, novels, comic books and graphic novels. His most notable works include the novels Stardust, American Gods and Coraline. Gaiman has won a number of awards for his writing, such as the Carnegie and Newbery Medals for The Graveyard Book.
As a result of his support, the library has received many books from across the world as a part of the appeal.
Mrs Galer said that the book appeal developed from a ‘book box initiative that started in September 2015’, whereby a box of fiction books was put in each form room.
The aim was ‘to encourage students to develop a love of reading, raise the profile of Prince William School via social media and take the library into the classroom’.
Mrs Galer said that the tweet initially requested authors and publishers ‘to donate just one book’ to the appeal which would in turn would encourage the students to read more.
‘I was incredibly excited to get the notification that Neil Gaiman had retweeted my tweet. I couldn’t stop smiling all day!’ said Mrs Galer.
Gaiman’s retweet led to the library’s message being read 71,000 times. Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell also sent two prints of his illustrations and one original sketch with ‘Prince William School’ drawn into the picture.
The appeal was hash-tagged #1book and resulted in 786 new books being sent to the school library, with many of them even signed by the authors.
Books arrived from across the United Kingdom and from Canada, the USA and New Zealand.
Because of this year’s new intake starting at 11+, rather than 13+, the school library has had to expand its range of books, and has introduced titles for the younger year groups.
Mrs Galer said that she is thinking about new ways to improve the library’s resources. ‘I’m keen to get fundraising next term.’
By Adithya Menon