If you ever tried (and struggled) to get children to read, you’re not alone. School libraries encompass years of information and knowledge, both fact and fiction. With technology constantly taking over our lives it can be easy for children to lose sight of how valuable the school library really is.

Do you remember the excitement you once felt when visiting the library? Diving into a good book and getting lost between the pages at any age is a thing of wonder. Today we’re sharing our top five tips for better primary school library design to engage young readers, inspired by Willowbrook’s creative director, Brodie McCarthy.

Inspire Children with Face-on Displays

It’s 2021, and we’re in the visual age. It’s a known fact that children learn better with visual aids that allow them to interact with their environment with more confidence.

Face-on displays are specially designed school library furniture that showcases books for children to pick up and read. We know you should never judge a book by its cover, but the truth is, we really do. And children are no different. The colourful book covers children can see will inspire them to pick it up and read it.

Face-on displays also make library shelves look cleaner and less intimidating for a young reader, and are just one of the ways to create the perfect school library.

Now, let’s talk about the library surroundings.

Visualise the Perfect Library

Sit back for a moment, close your eyes, and imagine a school library.

Did your mind create an image of a dull, plain-coloured room with tall bookcases that block out any natural sunlight? Perhaps there was even a bespectacled librarian encouraging you to ‘shush’. In one study, 85% of students reported feeling ‘lost’, ‘scared’ and ‘overpowered’ after visiting their school library.

Well, push that image out of your mind for a moment.

Now, imagine a bright, open space with low bookcases and library furniture built with children in mind.

Swap out that old-fashioned A-Z system and switch to something more fun and inclusive, like sorting books by genre or age and giving children plenty of space to discover, sit, play and read. By creating a calming and open environment, children won’t feel apprehensive about visiting their school library.

You never know, perhaps they’ll even prefer reading a book to watching YouTube.

Choose a Book of the Month

Another top tip for better school library design is to create a ‘Book of the Month’ display. Having a dedicated monthly book display can enhance your library in several ways.

Children who switch books each month will feel more motivated to read them before the next one arrives. This will increase their reading stamina and engage young readers to read more often.

A Book of the Month also engages young readers by creating a social aspect to reading; it gives them something to get excited about and discuss with their classmates.

Select Playful and Comfortable Library Seating

It’s crucial to have the best soft seating options available in your new school library so children can become fully immersed in the reading experience. Consider swapping out those boring school chairs for some playful library seating, like large bean bag chairs or foam seats.

Desks and chairs are suited to the classroom, but a library should be a place where children can relax and get lost in a book, or somewhere they can study in a quiet, comfortable corner. Soft seating provides comfort and support, and it also encourages students to sit and read whilst creating a welcoming space.

Evidence suggests that a students’ emotional, social, and mental health can improve in school libraries if they provide a welcoming, inclusive, and relaxing atmosphere.

Encourage Finding Your Own Books with Kinderboxes

Our final tip for better primary school library design is to invest in a Kinderbox.

Kinderboxes are ideal for storing books in classrooms and school libraries. They are low enough so that younger children can easily access the books they want without help from teachers or older students. This helps to develop curiosity and independence in the process.

Do you have a cool school library design to share with us? Here’s something we created for Seymour Primary School in Crawley.

One thought on “5 Tips for Better School Library Design to Engage Young Readers

  1. Pingback: 6 Creative Ways to Get Kids Into Reading From an Early Age – Willowbrook Education

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