Riverside's New Library - a Community Project

Interior of the library with colourful shelves

Chrissie Gemmell, acting depute at Riverside Primary in Stirling, discusses how the school involved its local community in creating a new school library as part of the First Minister's Reading Challenge.

In August, when deciding to take part in the First Minster’s Reading Challenge, we were very much of the mindset that this was to be a partnership initiative, one that would bring about a positive collaboration for all our pupils, families and members of the community. In signing up, we recognised that one of the challenges specifically recognised community partnership and therefore perfectly aligned with our aims.

New Library

Our first links were made with Deborah and Lindsey, from Stirling’s Central Library, who worked with our Reading Reps and myself to discuss the most effective use of our library space. We are very lucky at Riverside to have such a large library area and it was important to us that this was inviting and inspiring for our young readers. Our Reading Reps were invited to Central Library to view their furniture and jungle-themed mural wall. Full of excitement, it was only too clear what our next task was.

With the help of our Parent Council, we were able to purchase new furniture that suited the needs of our school and community. With this on order, we then turned our attention to our books. We asked our local librarians for advice and they to guided us in our mission to update our collection. With many books not making the cut, we decided to hold a 10p book sale to sell off all of our old stock. This was extremely successful and meant that we then had additional funding to purchase more up-to-date books.

Of course the mural at Central Library was what caught our pupils' attention and therefore this certainly had to be a feature within our library! Rather than employing artists to carry out the work, I wanted to use this opportunity to involve our parents and members of the community. In November, I sent out letters to parents inviting them to attend a design meeting to gauge interest in supporting our idea of a mural wall. We were extremely lucky to have parents willingly offer their time and talent to support our school. The team created an African jungle theme for our wall, with the help of our Reading Reps. We felt that it was important for the children to be involved in this stage too, and so we held a competition for all of our children, from nursery to P7, challenging them to design a given animal for our wall. With the hard task of selecting a winner from each stage, it was then down to our design team to work with the children. They projected the designs using an OHP and supported the children in the creation of their work.

Tuesday 21 February – our opening day. This was very exciting for our children and staff. Scott Pennock, Head Teacher of Wallace High, cut our ribbon and declared our library open! As an English Teacher, he was extremely positive about the steps that we were making to promote a lifelong love for reading at Riverside. Involving our parents and community members in this process has been fantastic and we are so proud of the result. We’d like to say a big thank you to all involved for their truly excellent contribution.


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