The Bemrose School pupils settle with a good book as new library officially opens

Children's authors Sue Wilkins and Matt Beighton were on hand for the big day at the Derby school
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A library nine years in the making has officially opened at a Derby school as pupils are encouraged to get stuck into a good book.

Primary school pupils at The Bemrose School welcomed local children’s authors Sue Wilkins and Matt Beighton to cut the ribbon on the new library, which is jam-packed with brand-new books and has popular children’s characters painted onto the walls in bright colours by Leigh Irvine from Raze Murals, in Chaddesden.

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Head teacher Kate Beecroft said it has been a priority for her ever since the primary school opened nine years ago, to encourage a love of reading from a young age.

Author Matt Beighton with pupils of The Bemrose School in the new libraryAuthor Matt Beighton with pupils of The Bemrose School in the new library
Author Matt Beighton with pupils of The Bemrose School in the new library

The school has always had a library – usually it occupied an empty classroom - but as the school has grown in popularity and classrooms have filled up, the library has been moved around.

It now has its own space and dedicated librarian, and the opening of the provision coincided with Dahlicious Day 2023; a day dedicated to popular children’s author Roald Dahl.

Mrs Beecroft said: “At Bemrose, reading really is a high priority for the entire team so it was a priority to find the library a permanent home and we’ve spent a long time on this. We asked pupils what they wanted from the library, and they had an impact on the choice of texts and authors.

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“We used to have a larger non-fiction section, but the children said they weren’t as interested in that and that they could use the internet to find it out. They wanted more fiction books, so we did an overhaul and now provide more fiction titles for them to read.

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“New authors are coming out all the time and the children also wanted more books from different cultural backgrounds. We wanted the library to come alive and to be full of colour and joy, so the children voted on the characters they wanted painting on the walls, and the artist from Raze Murals came in and spray painted the characters over the holidays.”

To mark the special occasion, parents and carers were invited into school to see the finished project and workshops were held throughout the day hosted by local authors Sue Wilkins and Matt Beighton.

Former teacher-turned-author Mr Beighton, whose series of books Monstacademy has been a huge hit with youngsters, held a ‘fighting writing workshop’ where he brought in models and scenery to act as a stimulus for writing. The pupils then created their own unique stories.

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He said: “The workshop is good for engaging reluctant writers and it gets very competitive. It’s been brilliant visiting The Bemrose School and the pupils had some brilliantly ridiculous ideas.

“I love the new library; it has a nice range of diverse authors. I read a lot of children’s books and my absolute favourites are here.

“It’s all about finding out what you like to read, and this gives such a good opportunity to find that out.”

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