We provide a range of services to help you and your children and young people.  See below for full details.

Borrowing, computers and homework help

Reading challenges

Groups and events

Class visits

Volunteering opportunities for young people

Shelf help – Reading Well for young people

Learning Resource packs

Lego Pic

Borrowing, Computers and Homework Help

  • We supply a huge range of books, magazines and information for children, parents and carers.  This includes fiction & non-fiction, ebooks, graphic novels and more.  We do not provide a schools library service to loan books to schools to use in the curriculum, but can provide information on other places to access this if you need it.
  • All members get free use of public access computers for 2 hours per day, which can be for homework
  • Support with homework and how to search for information, both on computers and in books, and other printed materials.
  • Your students can use our online reference resources in their private study. Our subscriptions include Oxford English Dictionary, Driving Theory Test Pro and more.

All of the above is offered free.

Reading Challenges

  • We offer the Summer Reading Challenge, using resources produced by The Reading Agency, where we challenge children to read and tell us about 6 books over the summer holidays so that we can help to prevent the summer literacy dip.
  • The Bloodaxe Reading Challenge, delivered jointly with the Jorvik Viking Centre November to February, where we challenge children to read 4 books and tell us about them to continue encouraging children’s reading.

Reading challenges are offered free.

Groups and Events

  • We host Chatterbooks reading groups in our Explore Libraries where children can take part in book related activities and games
  • Children’s weekend and holiday activities including author visits, crafts, chess club and other learning experiences.

There is no charge for taking part in reading groups, though there is a cost for children to attend some holiday activities.

Class Visits

All school classes are welcome to visit any of our libraries to learn about how libraries and archives work, and to encourage children to read for pleasure.  If you want to arrange to visit a library please contact the library you wish to visit.

Volunteering opportunities for young people

We offer volunteering opportunities for young people for the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and for work experience programmes.  Volunteers can work on general library activities like shelving, help at children’s clubs, or support our reading challenges.

Shelf help – Reading Well for Young People

Reading Well for young people is a national scheme which provides 13-18 year-olds with high-quality information, support and advice on a wide-range of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm and difficult life pressures, like bullying and exams.  Our Shelf Help book collection includes 35 titles over 12 topics, e.g. anxiety and depression, and is free to borrow from a range of branches.

Learning Resource Packs

In 2015, as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project ‘York: Gateway to History’ we produced five learning resource packs for use by teachers and other educators.  In these packs, we’ve highlighted some gems from our Archives which we think may be particularly useful in learning activities.

Chocolate Letters

LearningPackChocolateLetter43This pack contains copies of 24 documents from our Chocolate Letters collection, which are letters written by York servicemen or their families to express their thanks for a gift of chocolate sent by the Lord Mayor, J B Morrell, at Christmas 1914 to all York servicemen.

Introduction to the Chocolate Letters (pdf)

Document collection: 24 letters (zip)

Conscientious Objectors

LearningPackConscientiousObjectorsAppealDeclinedDuring the First World War it was common for many Quakers to reject military service and as York had a large Quaker community it was also home to a significant number of conscientious objectors. In this pack you will find copies of documents from our collection of William Varley’s papers. The collection includes postcards, letters and other correspondence relating to his imprisonment for objection against conscription.  Also included are suggested discussion points and activities.

Contents of the Pack (pdf)

Historical Context (pdf)

Suggested Activities (pdf)

Document collection: 19 postcards, letters, cuttings and other documents  (zip)

Creative Writing Key Stage 2

LearningPackCreativeWritingKS2CastListThis pack has been created by British crime writer, Helen Cadbury.  In it you’ll find guidance notes for creative writing inspired by a York Theatre Royal programme from the early 1900s, with images from the programme itself.

Contents and Introduction (pdf)

Author Advice and How to Search (pdf)

Ways into the Story, Asking Questions and Making Notes (pdf)

Writing the Story (pdf)

Document collection – theatre programme and cast list (zip)

Creative Writing Key Stage 3+

LearningPackCreativeWritingKS3CalendarFelonsAgain, this learning pack uses items found in the York Archives as a starting point for writing fiction. This learning resource pack, created by British crime writer, Helen Cadbury, includes guidance notes for creative writing inspired by a young woman charged in 1822 with stealing clothes.

Introduction and author’s advice (pdf)

How to use the Archives for Research (pdf)

Questions, Notes and Preparatory Tasks (pdf)

Suggested Tasks and Next Steps (pdf)

Document Collection: Calendar of Felons and Court of Assize (zip)

York Panorama

LearningPackYorkPanoramaBrailleActivityThis pack is inspired by the tactile new public artwork at York Explore, ‘York Panorama: What York Means to Us’, by local artist Emily Harvey.  It provides background information about the project, with ideas for educational activities targeted primarily at Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils.

Contents and Introduction (pdf)

Meet the Artist (pdf)

Suggested Activities (pdf)

Document Collection: 19 photographs and worksheets (zip)

Find out more about how we can support teachers and home educators

For general information on activities and other queries, please contact the Children and Young People’s Librarian on 01904 554282 or frances.postlethwaite@exploreyork.org.uk

For information on our archives service, please contact archives@exploreyork.org.uk