Last Saturday at our Open Day we had the exciting opening of the new Heathcote KS1 and Early Years library. The children had waited patiently since their return after the Easter holidays for the unveiling, the room enshrouded in blackout paper so nobody got a sneak peek before the big day. Emily had the privilege of cutting the ceremonial ribbon and seeing her idea of an ‘Under the Sea’ themed library come to life. It wasn’t long before the room was overflowing with excited children…and adults!
The opening of the new library has been an important step for the school. Not only does it now provide us with an additional super resource, but it gave me a moment to reflect on the importance of books in our lives. Too often I have heard recently, “Libraries are dead because books will all be online soon.” This is simply not the case. Having a special place to snuggle up and get lost in that special world of books is a central part to fostering our children’s imagination. Where better than our lovely new library. When our children are first learning to read there is nothing more vital than the touch of real books, being able to turn the pages and share a story, put your finger underneath the letters and sounds and point to the pictures to aid that little person’s understanding. Creating positive memories for young people of why books are important is easy when you have a special place to read. A dull room with high shelves and dusty books will inevitably become a bore but inspiration and imagination can ensure that we can all experience the magic of books in the right environment.
That is not to say that the kindle or tablet doesn’t have its place in the world of reading. After all, trying to pack 7 thick volumes into your suitcase to ensure you have your summer reading covered is always a challenge, especially with luggage restrictions. There is a place for both in all our lives. So I hope you will agree that our new reading space ‘Under the Sea’ will be busy and well loved by all our children. Their reactions thus far have certainly confirmed that. A dedicated space to lose yourself in an imaginary world far, far away is a must in my book.