Whether you have a limited space or a large library, you can create an enticing and inspiring place to encourage your pupils to read for pleasure.
Peters’ Library Designer Jessica McCoy works with schools to make the most of their libraries, whatever their budget. She shares her top tips with us below.
Q: What tips would you give to a school that only has a small library space?
Even the smallest detail can make a real difference! Add splashes of colour to refresh your library or reading space if it’s looking a little bit tired. Rugs are great for this, and soft seating – cushions, beanbags or pods. Vinyl stickers can also help lift a small room and inject a bit of personality.
Q: What’s the first thing you do when starting a new design for a school?
I always start by discussing the school’s requirements with them in detail, to really get a feel for how they want their new library space to look and to work. Meeting with staff face-to-face or talking on the phone always helps generate ideas. The practical side is key – we have to take into account the size of the space, the age of the pupils and how many books they have. Then it’s time to get creative! I write notes, take measurements and draw lots of sketches.
Q: What are the best ways a school library can engage pupils and inspire them to read for pleasure?
Pupils will enjoy a bright and colourful space, but also somewhere they feel comfortable and relaxed – libraries should be ‘safe spaces’ for all children. Clearly laid out shelves and sections by genre so it’s easy for children to find the books they like. Colour co-ordination always works well too. Give children the chance to become pupil librarians and they’ll really get the reading bug!
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love working within the education sector – it’s great to feel like my designs are making a difference to children’s learning. I’m passionate about creating spaces where pupils can really relax and get lost in a book. It’s great when schools really care about the library and make it the heart of a school.