I know… capitals and overuse of exclamation marks! But I’m going to do it again because THIS IS SO EXCITING!!!! For me, anyway. If I knew how to do underlining on this app, I’d do that too!!
I am VERY excited!
Because last week I went to visit the second home of The Rainbow Library. I took a big box of books to swap over and went in to see it in action. And, you guys, it was better than I had imagined. At face value it’s just a bookshelf in a corridor. But when you sit there for ten minutes to unpack a box of books you can see the magic working.
A little face appears. New books? Can I see? Wide eyes and big smiles as the Christmas books are unpacked. And little fingers are skipping over book covers and stroking the glittery bits. Off skips a little girl hugging a hardback copy of Lucky Wish Mouse White Christmas that’s almost as big as she is. Straight away a little lad with a cheeky grin and a twinkle in his eye sidles over. Gem explains that he is the library’s biggest fan and most regular user. He has a tricky home life and these are the only books he has access to at home. He can’t keep his eyes off them and sidles closer and closer. A farm book! It’s got a tractor! And he’s grabbed it and gone with a grin that could break hearts.
That is what it is for!
These children love their library! They use it, they look after it and they are excited by it. They are already learning that books are fun and are developing a love of words, pictures and reading. Such important life-changing things for a small person to learn! Their borrowing book is crammed with entries- pages and pages of books being taken home and brought back and borrowed again. It is a joy to see. It made me VERY happy!!!
But a box of books does not a library make. What is it that’s making it so successful? After being there for a while and talking to the children and watching them interact, it’s clear to see that the key to the success of that little library is Gem. Her energy and enthusiasm and support for the library is what’s making the difference between books in a box and books in children’s lives. She is encouraging the children to look at the books during the day, talking to the parents and supporting them with their use of the library, jazzing it up and making it look child-friendly and appealing. And it’s clearly working. She is being a librarian and is doing a wonderful job. She told me that they quite often realise children haven’t come back from the toilet and, armed with a spare pair of pants and a packet of wet wipes they go to rescue them, only to find them sat on the toilet engrossed in a library book! Life skills, people! Life skills!
Can you help?
Seeing Gem’s hard work and enthusiasm and the resulting smiles on the children’s faces makes me want to do more. I want to reward the children for their library enthusiasm and for taking such great care of their books. I am finishing off some story sacks to take to them with another box of books in the new year. I’m going to make sure they are all signed up for World Book Day and support them with resources and ideas to celebrate. But I’d also like to get enough books together to give each child a book to take home and keep like I did with the original Rainbow Library children back in March. I think it would make them really proud and it would encourage them to keep going, keep reading and keep enjoying their books. Perhaps I could get some signed books for their library? Or books with a written message of encouragement for the kids? Or booky posters to brighten up the walls around it? Perhaps some illustration prints to go on the walls? They are tiny little people with huge potential and I think we can work together to release more of that wide-eyed cheeky-grin magic. If anyone feels they can help with donations, please do get in touch!
Maybe when you are wrapping your Christmas presents you could wrap up a book- it doesn’t have to be new- and pop it in the post for Gem to open with the children. Imagine their faces if they got book post!! If they got to sit on the carpet in a circle and unwrap a new book for their library! It would be a great way to encourage them to keep going! I’m certainly going to send them some.
If you feel you could join in, please send your booky goodies (suitable for nursery and reception age children) here:
The Rainbow Library
Fairlight Primary School & Nursery,
St Leonards Road,
I want to say a huge thank you to Gem for being BRILLIANT and to everyone who has donated books and resources so far for their generosity and belief in the Rainbow Library. You are all awesome and you are Making a Difference!