As many of you know, I work part time in St Michael’s School Library – 15 hours a week in which most of my time is spent issuing and returning books, reading to children (storytime sessions), running lunchtime clubs and trying to keep up with the inevitable admin that every job entails.
I don’t have a lot of time to devote to less ‘important’ work, like changing the library around to give it a refresh. While the space itself is lovely, every place can do with the occasional makeover to keep everyone interested (look at how often Marks and Spencer change their merchandising displays for a good, although extreme, example!).
Before the end of term, I managed to have a clear-out of stock that was old or never borrowed or duplicate copies of books. This was essential as it freed up some space on the shelves for more attractive displays. Also, it allowed me to show the wonderful stock we do have in its best light, instead of crammed together. We donated the removed books to a local school that had recently created a library space but had no books and not much budget, so it was a win-win for everyone!
The school has been shut for the Easter holidays, although schools are never really totally closed, and this has provided me with an excellent opportunity to go in and give the library a really good sorting out (sounds like a naughty child, I know). I was extremely lucky to have the help of local author and great friend Angela Kecojevic and her daughter Anouska, as well as my own daughter Holly. I felt so honoured that they all gave up some of their own precious time to help me create a new space for the children, to share their ideas and fun and enthusiasm (while eating Easter goodies, of course). We’re nearly finished with the room now (Holly and I spent five hours there today!) so I thought I’d share the results with you (though there will be a few more additions in the week(s) to come.
This is our ‘fairy tale’ section, in case you haven’t guessed! Atop these two bookcases, pushed together, is a medieval castle Angela made out of boxes and paper. Anouska and Holly designed the doors and windows, and Holly made flags to fly from the ramparts! If you look carefully you can see a frog and a princess peering over the top of the castle. Cascading down the green side (the hill!) is ivy and fairy lights, just to add to the theme. The books on one side of the case are fairy/folk tales and nursery rhymes from around the world, while on the other are fantasy books, including Lemony Snickett, Harry Potter and Diana Wynne Jones.
This is my desk space. It’s the last area to be finished, so this isn’t the finished product, but you can get an idea. I have our newsstand next to my desk, and a series of gorgeous pictures behind my desk (plus signs from Harry Potter including one that reminds the pupils – who aren’t always very good at picking up after themselves – that house elves do not live in the library and they need to tidy their mess up!). On the left, you can see a picture frame that is waiting to be hung – a signed drawing by the wonderful Jonathan Stroud from a talk he gave on Lockwood & Co that we attended a couple of years ago, dedicated to us. Cool!
Wow – look at all this open space! Originally, there were two bookcases dividing the room in half but now we’ve moved things around and created a fantastic amount of floor space, which will be lovely when we have storytimes with the younger children. My comfy reading chair also has a new space so I can make better use of it when reading aloud (though I might have lots of children begging me to sit in it!).
We will be doing a return visit later this week to finish off, but both Holly and I are really excited at how the space is looking now. Change is good for everyone – and I wonder how the children will react when they come back after Easter break? Watch this space…
Huge thanks to Holly, Angela and Anouska for helping me with their enthusiasm and creativity – I couldn’t have done it without you! xxx