5 School Library Ideas
Here are 5 school library ideas to encourage pupils to take a natural interest in reading.
Are you looking for school library ideas to encourage your pupils to read more? You’re not alone…
Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns have placed pressure on pupils and teachers to ‘catch up’ on lost learning time. In fact, Ofsted has indicated that reading and phonics in schools are areas in which pupils need extra support as a result of the pandemic.
Sadly, for many schools, reading is still seen as a luxury, not a necessity. And one in eight Primary Schools has no library provision at all.
It’s a fact that pupils who read for pleasure are healthier, happier and do better at school. So we think it’s vital that every school provides a dedicated library for pupils.
You don’t need to invest your entire year’s school improvement budget in your new library. In fact, a few simple changes can make a big difference!
1. Wide and diverse reading opportunities
The first and most obvious feature of a great school library is lots of books. But how do you choose the right ones to include, especially if you’re on a tight budget?
If you can’t afford to buy books, there are opportunities to get books from elsewhere;
- Start a swap shop: pupils can borrow a book as long as they bring one in its place. This is a wonderful way to encourage pupils to share their favourite books. And it can stimulate discussion among peers about their favourite stories and characters.
- Charities like BookTrust support hundreds of schools each year. Their books and resources are delivered via health, libraries, schools and early years practitioners. Find out more here.
- Bring your own! We think you’d be hard pressed to find many school teachers who don’t love, and own, many books. Connect with other teachers, at your school and beyond, to try and garner a selection of books for your library.
- Raise your own funds. Have a bake sale, wash cars, encourage pupils to take part and raise funds to buy books and furnishings for your school library. You could even approach local businesses for support.
It’s important to include books that feature characters from all walks of life.
This ensures that all pupils can find characters they can relate to. And it allows them to see heroes who look like them, or share similar backgrounds.
2. Make it comfortable
If you want pupils to visit your school library regularly, it should feel warm and welcoming. Consider lighting that isn’t too harsh but is appropriate for reading. And replace hard, wooden chairs with soft furnishings like bean bags and pouffes.
Some school libraries include reading tents where individuals can sit inside, shut the world away and immerse themselves in the pages of a good book. If reading doesn’t feel like a chore, students will naturally be more drawn to it.
3. Guide pupils on the journey
Perhaps to us, the process of choosing and reading a book is straightforward. But, for some pupils, this process may feel daunting.
Make sure you appoint reading champions who can help and support pupils on their reading journeys.
It’s also helpful to make sure these reading champions are committed to creating a safe space for everyone. For example, they should report any disruptive or abusive behaviour from tricky pupils, to allow others to read safely and without fear.
4. Make reading regular
As part of the Government’s advice to schools on the foundations of teaching literacy, regularity is key. Particularly, for pupils who are struggling or falling behind their peers, extra reading time may be needed.
With this in mind, it’s important to facilitate regular reading time at school. Some pupils will not have the time, permission or capacity to read at home.
The government advice suggests that extra reading practice “takes place in a quiet place, at a regular time every day so that the children become familiar with the routine.” and that their regular reading practice should, “be a school priority, with maximum efforts made to avoid disruption or cancellation“.
The more children read, the more natural the process will become.
5. Consider the visual environment
The last of our school library ideas focuses on the visual environment of the library. Specifically the walls of the library itself and any surrounding areas.
Recently, many schools have asked us to design bespoke Wall Art for a space they’re converting into a library. This is often an old classroom or unused communal space.
When we work with these schools, we’ll always suggest ways of transforming any dull walls with Wall Art. We’ll often feature images and quotes from popular and age appropriate children’s books.
This is a great way to bring the space to life, and it can stimulate curiosity and discussion between fellow readers.
Find out more
GET IN TOUCH to find out how we can help you create an inspiring school library.
We’ll visit your school for a free, no obligation consultation. This helps us measure up your available space, share ideas and put together a bespoke quote based on your needs and budget. From there we’ll guide you through the design process to make sure you get the exact result you want! Our service includes print and installation too.
Want to know how we’re supporting BookTrust to get more pupils reading? Take a look at our work on the Life-Changing Libraries project, in association with Cressida Cowell.