Pupils at Holmbush Primary Academy are thrilled with the new look, which features a tree house to climb in, a den and little nooks for reading in, a rainbow rug and comfortable benches.
Staff designed the library to be based on the woodlands and principal Miss Susan Stickley said the room looks ‘fabulous’.
She said: “There was nothing really wrong with the old library but it wasn’t very exciting for the children and it had a lot of very old books. We wanted a space where they were desperate to go and read a book and have a really good experience of sitting in a library that was comfortable and exciting.
“It was totally gutted and redecorated with all new furniture. The children had been part of the fundraising so they were excited to see it and it has been a real talking point.”
From the nursery class to year six, every pupil has been able to spend time in the library and their first reactions have been recorded, including words like exciting, stunning and relaxing.
“It has been lovely seeing them engrossed in the new books and excited to sit with a book, and that is what we want, because we know how important reading is,” said Miss Stickley.
The library was largely funded by the PTFA (Parents, Teachers and Friends Association) and an Amazon Wish List was set up for books, with parents who donated them having stickers placed inside to acknowledge their support.
Miss Stickley said: “We couldn’t have done it without the support of the parents. The PTFA has been fundraising over a couple of years and all the money went to refurbishing our library, as well as buying new books. The room was gutted and refitted with new shelving. They can climb in the treehouse or go in the den underneath, and they love the rainbow rug and padded seating.”
Many of the old books were recycled. Some were ditched altogether, others were replaced because the children loved the stories but needed new copies.
Before the pandemic, each class had a special session where the children could be dropped off at the library in the morning and the parents could go in, too, to help them choose their books, or sit and read with them. Miss Stickley said this will be reintroduced as soon as possible, now Covid-19 restrictions are lifting.
She explained: “We want the children to not only choose books for their level but pick books they like the look of and have them read to them.
“We wanted to make sure we had really high-quality texts in the library because we want it to be a very positive experience.
“We are very keen on the physical nature of picking up a beautiful book and turning the pages, that can’t be replaced.”