Despite the closure of Public Libraries across the country, The Eastwood Academy has bucked the trend by opening a brand new Library this week. The Library is set up to lend brand new books to students, track what they are reading and to help provide both enjoyable and challenging literature across the gender, age and ability ranges. Books such as the popular ‘Hunger Games’ series, ‘Twilight’ and ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ are flying off the shelves, with over 100 books borrowed in the first week alone. The day to day organisation is run by a team of student librarians. Staff and Pupil reading clubs enjoy its comfy surroundings and older students help younger students with book choices and reading skills in the ‘Reading Buddies’ group, which meets twice a week.
Mr T Keenan, the head of English said, ‘It is vital to get young people reading for enjoyment, and that is the aim of this Library.’
He also went on to say, ‘The students are starting to make full use of the Library, which is exactly what we want to happen, and they are now confident enough to recommend even more books they want to see in there, which will help grow the Library over time. However, they have been pleasantly surprised with how relevant the selection is to them. As we place trust in the students, they can help shape the Library they want through honest discussion.’
It is not just Mr Keenan that is noticing the popularity of the new facility, Mrs Lilywhite who is the pastoral director and line manager for English said at the opening ‘Libraries are the gateways to knowledge and the opening of the new Eastwood library has ignited a passion in our students. The library has been a vision shared by students and the English department alike and the opening this week heralded a new start to the “reading for pleasure” philosophy. Is the library a success? Well the sheer number of students reading and taking out books as they stampede through the door says it all!’
The funding for the library originally came from the Jack Petchy award when just £100 started the idea. Since then, money has been put in to develop and maintain this facility. Mr Houchen, the head teacher of the Eastwood Academy stated that ‘I would like to thank Mr Keenan and the whole of the English department for their drive in realising the renaissance of the Academy library. Along with the other literacy-based initiatives, I hope this is the beginning of a golden period for the department.’