The library space at Buxton Community School had been underused for several years, and for the past 18 months had been cleared out for use as a makeshift staffroom for one of the teaching bubbles separated by Covid measures.
But new librarian Eden Hutchins arrived in September and immediately got to work with a team of students who have made it fit for its intended purpose again.
Eden said: “We’re very lucky to have this huge space and the headteacher really wanted to see it as a central part of the school’s culture again – a place where students can develop a love of reading and writing.
“I was employed to breathe new life into the library and the first thing it needed was a big facelift and relaunch. Its taken a month non-stop and a lot of scrubbing.”
Working with a group of seven Sixth Form students, Eden reshelved and cleaned all the books, changed the layout of the room to let in more light, and redecorated. There is also now a ‘cinema room’ equipped for film screenings or as a calming getaway for students who need a moment to themselves.
Eden’s young assistants have been central to the project, advising on how to use the space, how best to categorise books, and identifying new resources which the school has invested in. They have even been trained in the library’s software system so they can help other students find everything they need.
Eden said: “Public libraries have come under threat in recent years so I really want to give students the experience of what its like to be in a place dedicated to books – but of course, we still have the computers which they can use for research.
“It’s also a space which can be used for specific teaching purposes. We’re doing a lot targeted work with students who have learning gaps, particularly those who have suffered in lockdown and need support to catch up.”
He added: “We’ve already seen a big take-up for extracurricular activities like the chess club, Shakespeare club and young women’s group. The reaction from students has been very positive so far.”