A COMMUNITY has rallied round to donate £800 for a new library to give youngsters even more reason to pick up a book.
Little Shipmates Pre-school in Lee-on-the-Solent is now furnished with a cosy three-piece sofa, new shelves with books on display and a ‘Chatterbox’ filled with fun games and toys to fire up imaginations.
The transformation of what was previously a ‘reading tent’ was possible thanks to cash from Gosport Borough Council, Lee-on-the-Solent Residents’ Association and the Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent Lions Club.
Nicky Gore, Shipmates manager, who is supporting The News’ Read All About It campaign, said: ‘What we had previously wasn’t child friendly at all – the bookshelf was three-and-a-half feet off the ground and the children couldn’t even see the books.
‘I’m thrilled that our community has pulled together for us – because our pre-school is for the community, and we want local people to take ownership of it.
‘It has made a huge difference.
‘The children are actively picking out books, browsing through them and playing with the toys – they’re very protective of it, and we even have one self-appointed librarian.’
She added: ‘Literacy underpins everything. ‘It empowers children to be life-long learners, it is key to succeeding in life.
‘If you don’t have the language skills you will grow up less confident.’
The library has been designed to replicate the home environment, so that children who pick up a good habit of reading automatically do the same at home.
Daniel Campbell, three, can’t keep away from it.
He said: ‘I like opening Chatterbox which has lots of games and surprises in it like postcards, and I get to take them home.
‘I love the new library, because I love reading books, especially the ones about animals.
‘The lion’s my favourite animal because it is very big. It’s much nicer now because you can sit on the sofa and read, and it makes me feel like I am at home.
‘It’s much more comfortable than it was before. I learn a lot of things when I read and I’m reading more in our library.’
n Go to portsmouth.co.uk/news/campaigns/read-all-about-it