£15,000 school library makeover in Bradford to have official opening with top author and Lord Mayor

15 Oct 2015

A £15,000 school library makeover will be officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Bradford and celebrated with inspiring talks and storytelling from top children's author, Phil Earle.

The library at Sandal Primary School in Baildon is now a spectacular space for children to read and learn in after it won a competition run by the School Library.

Association and the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford, as well as furniture company BookSpace, who designed and funded the renovation. The project is part of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford - an initiative to raise literacy levels in the area.

The new library has already proven popular with pupils with a 276% increase in loans in the first two weeks since it opened on 1 October, compared to the same time period a year ago in the non-refurbished library.*

Sandal Primary School’s original library was housed in a small, uninviting room where activities were restricted to selecting books to borrow. Seating areas for quiet reading were limited as the library had doors leading to a classroom and reprographics room as well as the main entrance. Younger children couldn’t reach the higher book shelves and there wasn’t enough space for parents and carers  to visit the library with their children. 

Now, Sandal Primary School’s larger, more centrally located art room and ICT suite has been transformed into a bright and colourful library where pupils can discover and enjoy new books. Boasting innovative seating dedicated to reading and inviting shelves filled with shiny new books amongst beautiful woodland themed décor, the library welcomes children to explore and lose themselves in books.

The library can now also host workshops, literacy-themed holiday clubs, author visits and other creative events to support and develop reading throughout the school and in the wider community. Outside normal school hours, the library is open to parents and carers for book lending and learning, creating a nurturing environment where children and their families can develop a lifelong love of reading and literature.

To celebrate, award-winning author, Phil Earle will be inspiring pupils to read with talks and storytelling on Wednesday 21 October to 300 children at Sandal Primary School. Fifty Key Stage 2 pupils from Glenaire Primary School, Baildon C of E Primary School and Allerton Primary School have been invited to join in the fun. In the afternoon, the Lord Mayor will be visiting the new space with Councillors and school governors.

Sandal Primary School will receive advice and staff training from the School Library Association to ensure its new reading space becomes an example for other schools across the country to learn from.

The school will make their new library is accessible to other schools so they can benefit from the project by providing a base for training teachers and school librarians. BookSpace have also started an online diaryspace on their website to allow staff and children to blog about the progress of the library.

Louise Dale, Headteacher at Sandal Primary School said:
"A love of reading for pleasure and as a doorway to knowledge and understanding of our world is our highest priority. The new library caused great excitement during its creation and now that it is open, the children and staff have all shown great enthusiasm for the inspiring reading space provided. It is a huge asset to our children and families."

The National Literacy Trust’s Bradford Hub Manager, Imran Hafeez said: 
“BookSpace and the School Library Association have provided Sandal Primary School with a welcoming and inspiring school library which is so important for instilling a love of reading in children. I’m looking forward to finding out about how all the exciting plans they have for it are progressing” 

BookSpace Managing Director Helen Thomas said:
“We’re really pleased with this reading space we’ve created with Sandal Primary – the enthusiasm of pupils and staff has really shone through in the creation of it and we’re really excited to continue working with them to test innovative ways of using and managing the space.

The aim of the project is to create a centre of excellence within a school where a reading culture can thrive, so we’ll be monitoring and evaluating developments and documenting best practice which will form the basis of a blueprint for primary school reading spaces that will be shared with schools across the country.”    

School Library Association Director Tricia Adams said:
“The School Library Association is delighted to be working with BookSpace and the Bradford Literacy Campaign to create this wonderful library in a school where there is such a commitment to cultivating a positive environment for reading and learning.

A welcoming school library helps ensure pupils can fulfil their potential and boosts a school’s capacity to promote reading for enjoyment to parents, carers and the community, so  I’m looking forward to further supporting Sandal Primary to develop a beacon of inspiration for other school libraries.”

*(216 books were loaned between 1-14 October 2015 compared to 78 books between 1-14 October 2014)