My best assembly

15th May 2015 at 01:00
In the library, you can put your mind at ease

I was tasked with preparing an assembly that would encourage use of our learning resource centre (or library, in old money), motivate students to read, and enlist volunteers to tidy the bookshelves. What I came up with involved a little help from the Village People.

My form group are all library volunteers, so I decided to show the rest of the students that we actually do enjoy ourselves. We often talk about what happens "in the library" and I've always linked that phrase with the Village People track In the Navy - which planted an idea in my head.

I rewrote the lyrics of the song, parodying the erroneous impression that a lot of students have of my form - that they are geeks or nerds. Then we set about putting together our library choir.

Rather than attempting a live rendition, we decided to record the audio for the song and then build a video around it - audience participation at its best.

In the assembly, the learning resource centre manager and I acted as cheerleaders for the song. We introduced the track and tried to get the whole school singing along, to the chorus in particularly.

Now, Gareth Malone I am not. And if you follow the link to the video (find it at the bottom of the page), I apologise for the singing, which I'm prepared to accept is a little flat in places. However, the aim of our assembly wasn't to make it to boot camp in The X Factor, just to promote our library.

The students loved the parody and they picked the chorus up straight away. Even now, almost two years after the first showing of the video, I still get the chorus sung at me as I patrol the corridors.

I've shared the video with other local schools and it has inspired at least one cover. It would be great if other versions of In the Library could be uploaded and shared around the world.

Martin Burley is literacy coordinator at Noel-Baker School in Derby. He blogs at

To watch the video of In the Library, visit bit.lyMyBestAssembly15May

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