A New 'Secret Garden Library' for St Mark's Primary
After months of fund-raising and book donating, and weeks of building, the new library at St Mark's has opened.
The children at St Mark’s Primary have just started a new chapter in their reading lives. The culmination of weeks of planning, building, and landscaping, and months of fund-raising and book-donating, is the fantastic ‘Secret Garden Library’ at St Mark’s which officially opened its doors the day before World Book Day, Wednesday 6 March.
Roedean has been working closely with and supporting St Mark’s in a variety of ways in recent years. One of the first joint projects was the ‘Reading Buddies’ where each week 30 Year 9 girls go to St Mark’s to listen to the children read. However, there was no dedicated space for reading and books, which became the catalyst for the idea of building a Library. In September, the Headmaster, Mr Blond, set Roedean a target of raising £25,000 to build the St Mark’s Library from scratch. Most of that money has been raised, through the girls’ incredible fund-raising and generous donations from the Roedean Mission and Parents’ Guild.
St Mark’s Headteacher Mrs Fendley, said: ‘This warm, comfortable library stacked with lovely books is an amazing chance for us to show the children the pleasures of reading a good book. They are so excited to get in and explore it and it’s wonderful to watch them. Who knows what this will ignite in them and lead them towards? It will certainly give them more access to literature and encourage a love of reading that I hope will stay with them all their lives.’
Mr Blond added, ‘The girls at Roedean get such a lot out of coming to the school to read with the children each week and always tell me it’s the highlight of their week. It seemed natural, as neighbouring schools, that we should work together to help create something that enables young children to have greater access to books. We asked the girls and their parents to buy a book that they themselves enjoyed as young readers for the new library and the reaction and array of titles that came in was wonderful.’
Brighton children’s author, Helen Peters, spoke to the children in a special assembly about writing and stories, and she presented a set of her books to the children. She and the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Dee Simson, cut the ribbon, officially opening the Library, and it was wonderful to see the children’s faces as they rushed into it. The Secret Garden Library is a wonderful addition to St Mark’s, and we all hope that it inspires a love of reading in the children for years to come!