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Parents, grandparents and other members of the community joined Port Charlotte Primary School staff and pupils to celebrate the official opening of their new library.
After the ribbon was cut by award-winning children’s author Alan Windram – who had been invited to the Islay school by parent Hillary Epps to run two events with pupils – head teacher Maggie Crawford invited the assembled guests to ‘wander around and have a proper look’.
And when they did, they were impressed.
Parent Emma Crawford said: ‘The library is wonderful. You can see how much the pupils like it. It’s a really great resource for all the children at the school.’
Catherine MacArthur, grandmother of two pupils, said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to see the library finished. It is such an improvement on what we had before and will certainly encourage more to read.’
Author Alan said: ‘I was delighted when Hillary invited me to the school for an author visit. The children were fantastic and it was a privilege to open the new library. This is a fantastic resource and the parent council should be proud of all its hard work.’
Construction of the new library was made possible after a fundraising effort by the Parent Council.
Graham Izat, council chairman, said: ‘The teachers identified they needed an improved library so myself, the rest of the parent council and other parents decided to fundraise, apply for grants and appeal to businesses for help. We have put together what we think is a pretty decent library which will hopefully do for the foreseeable future.’
The fundraising efforts attracted interest across the globe. When a Friends of Bruichladdich Facebook group heard about the project members decided to help and funds poured in from as far away as Germany, Switzerland and Australia. A single auction on the fan page raised more than £1,000 and was a welcome addition to money raised on the island.
The construction of the new library was managed by Lawrence Vellam. A friend of the school, he volunteered his services from the outset.
‘Initially, I got together with the teachers and we decided to involve all the children,’ he said.
‘I already had some ideas of what we needed to do and how it would work but all the students got together and produced some really good ideas, like a woodland theme, and where the seating should be.
‘The good thing was there were ideas from every single plan we could incorporate so they could all have a sense of ownership.’
The shelves were designed with safety in mind but can be moved if space is required, for example at the school’s annual nativity show.
Head teacher Maggie MacLellan said: ‘Thank you to everyone who contributed to the library.
Many members of the community have given us money, donations and their time to build this resource.’