Chichester College’s popular library dog, William, has been recognised for his contribution to learning.
CoLRic (Council for Learning Resources in Colleges) gave William ‘highly commended’ after the team at the library nominated him for a CoLRiC best practice award, reflecting the difference he is making to students and staff at the college.
William – a wire haired dachshund owned by library assistant Laura Piper – has been joining Laura at work in the library for a day each week, with the aim of creating a positive environment for students.
He also works with smaller groups for special sessions, helping to improve literacy – especially with foundation students at the college, providing a calming and inspiring addition to classes.
Laura said: “I’m so proud of William and what we’re achieving in the college library.
“We wanted to engage more students to use the library and work with students with additional needs, as well as the children at our onsite nursery – and it has really worked.
“We have seen an increase in students, coming in weekly and stopping to see William, as well as talk to us which means we can more easily identify when a student is struggling and work to help them.
“William’s been praised in their most recent survey – he’s even been called the ‘backbone of the college’, which is really touching to hear.”
Such is William’s popularity, his role has evolved and he know pops along to lessons – providing pastoral support and helping to focus attention.
The library also holds special ‘Story with William’ sessions.
Laura added: “We’ve seen the First Steps’ children soar in confidence while they’ve been visiting the library. But out most successful group has been with our Foundation students, who have really grown in confidence and ability. To see the change in them has been incredible.
“Rather than just a venue for the purely academic, William has opened the way for all our students to realise the value of the library. Whether you are following a purely academic pathway or a hands-on vocational path, the library is a place for everyone.”