Nethermains Primary School – Library Refurbishment

Last year we were contacted by Mrs Firth from Nethermains Primary School in Denny to give advice on book-banding their reading schemes. A Teams meeting and one visit to the school later and the school had signed-up for the Scottish Book Trust’s Reading Schools programme and wanted to create a school library. It’s amazing what can happen when like-minded people get together!

At this point there was no library – it had been disbanded as the space was needed for classes – a common problem for primary schools. However, I could tell Mrs Firth was determined and later last year she got in touch to say she had made space for the library and could we help.

It’s a wonderful shared space in the infant area that she felt wasn’t being utilised as well as it could be. She had already found some of the original library shelving and, luckily, the school had kept the books too. When we arrived to help a lot of the hard work had already been done but we used our expertise to get all the non-fiction sorted out, weeded and into Dewey order. We were able to provide support and advice on what was required next as well as practical help like giving them lots of new, up-to-date non-fiction.

We also used our connections at other schools to get them more shelving. This is a wonderful example of a school creating a vibrant library and reading culture without spending a fortune on fixtures and fittings. They have used what they had and what they could get for free and a handy janitor to put it all together. Where they have spent money, and this is what we advise all schools to focus on first, is on new books.

It’s important to get the pupils involved when you are getting new books and they invited me to go around each class with a box of new and exciting books to show pupils the different books we could get for their library. I took a wide variety of comics/graphic novels, picture books, non-fiction, dyslexia friendly, exciting and diverse authors and talked to the pupils about what they liked. There was something for everyone, including reluctant readers, and I came away armed with lists of titles, authors, genres and interests. It was a wonderful day of interacting with pupils who were enthusiastic, welcoming and kind and it helped to build a buzz about the library. I used these lists and my own knowledge to buy books for each class that will go into the library.

Each class also did some research online and voted for 3 particular books they wanted. This was a great way to get the children involved, for them to discover more books, increase their knowledge and ownership of the library.

When the new books arrived I had the pleasure of going back to each class to deliver the books and they were delighted to see what they asked for, as well as some surprises I bought based on their feedback.

While all this was going on, Mrs Firth and other staff were busy getting the library ready. Labelling, signage, displays etc. – all the hard work that it takes to build a library and make it the heart of the reading culture.

The library is ready and will have a grand opening tomorrow where parents can come and visit. I haven’t seen the finished project yet and I can’t wait.

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