Much-loved author opens Portsmouth school’s new library

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PUPILS cheered as their new school library was opened by the children’s favourite author.

Writer and illustrator Emily Gravett visited Cliffdale Primary Academy, in Battenburg Avenue, Portsmouth, to cut the ribbon on the facility.

Author and illustrator Emily Gravett opened the new library. '''Picture:  Malcolm Wells (150319-3938)

Author and illustrator Emily Gravett opened the new library. '''Picture: Malcolm Wells (150319-3938)

She said: ‘It’s fantastic that the school has opened up a new library as so many schools have recently shut theirs and children should be able to have the chance to foster a love of books.’

‘It’s also really flattering to see that amount of enthusiasm that the children have for my books.’

The library has come after the school was put into special measures in 2012.

Since then staff have put a lot of work into improving students’ reading and giving them the opportunity to experience a variety of books.

Assistant headteacher Jo Petch said: ‘We didn’t have a library before – we had a small collection of books but we’ve been able to enhance what we have.’

The library’s design is aimed at helping the children with the independence of checking out their own books and to make a choice about what book to read.

‘It’s great because we have enough space for all the books to be forward facing so the children can see clearly what’s on offer,’ said Ms Petch.

The School Library Service has loaned the school a lot of books to include in the new space.

Ms Petch said ‘The children did a sponsored walk in the autumn term to raise money to buy more books and we now have a broad range of texts.’

It is hoped that the space will enhance the school’s attitude to learning and help pupils with extra-curricular activities such as interactive story times and book clubs.

Throughout the day Emily Gravett read with the children and created a new story with their help.