Grasmere Primary School reopens library after fundraising drive that cleaned out bizarre 1980s catalogue

PUBLISHED: 07:02 26 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:08 26 September 2017

The refurbished library at Grasmere Primary School.

The refurbished library at Grasmere Primary School.


Grasmere Primary School is out to prove libraries are a thing of the future, not just the past.

Grasmere Primary School headteacher Nick Mallender saying a few words during the opening of the refurbished library on Friday, September 22.Grasmere Primary School headteacher Nick Mallender saying a few words during the opening of the refurbished library on Friday, September 22.

The Stoke Newington school is determined to get more youngsters reading for pleasure – and held a celebration on Friday to mark the opening of its refurbished book haven.

The project was made possible thanks to a team of 40 parent and carer volunteers and fundraisers, who raised more than £4,500 over the summer.

In its previous guise, the library had been an underused space for meetings and other activities, while the bulk of books included several editions more at home in the 1980s, such as Shoot football annuals and David Bellamy botany volumes – and not a Harry Potter novel in sight.

Back in June members of parent association group Friends of Grasmere Primary School (FROGS) met skipper Nick Mallender and assistant head Lena Scantlebury. They wanted to see a bright, colourful, library that was relevant to the curriculum and accessible for everyone.

Children enjoying the refurbished library at Grasmere Primary School.Children enjoying the refurbished library at Grasmere Primary School.

With half the stock of non-fiction books “outdated, damaged or not linked to curriculum,” early efforts were made to replenish the shelves with modern, relevant titles.

The importance of reading in the development of primary-age kids has been the driving force behind the project, but creating a space where students can relax was also pivotal – hence the bright colours, bean bags and quotes adorning the walls plucked from books of the pupils’ choice.

Mr Mallender, who started the term as permanent headteacher earlier this month, officially opened the new library alongside Kate Bonhote of FROGS.

“A drab underused space has been transformed into something inspirational for the children to encourage, celebrate and indulge their love of reading. Thank you to the generosity, creativity and dedication of the Friends of Grasmere.”

The refurbished library at Grasmere Primary School.The refurbished library at Grasmere Primary School.

The library refurb – funded by cash drummed up from the summer fair, jumble sales and a Just Giving page – is very much an ongoing project, with plans for a computer workstation and a library app in the pipeline.

One of the parents who was creative with her contribution was French artist Emilie Queney, who painted an “alphabet kids” sign outside the entrance in the school playground to draw people into the library.

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