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Rosendale Primary School

Library Design Award Winner

Rosendale Primary School was announced winner of the SLA Library Design Award for 2011.

Library Team:
• Kate Gorely (Design and Project Co-ordinator)
• James Smith (Architect)
• Rachel Bannermann (Garden Design)
• Rob Roberson (Interior Design)
• Jonny Hughes (Graphic Design)
• Neil Hopkin (Executive Headteacher)

The Library Bus is also featured in an item on BBC's Newsround PressPack report presented by a Rosendale Year 5 pupil: "School turns bus into library!"

Citation of the Judging Panel

Rosendale Primary School, London

Slda Library Bus 01Rosendale Primary School's Library Bus is ‘visionary’. Not in the sense of a library in a bus, as that is certainly not unique. But the concept of a school community volunteering together to design and build a new school library in a bus… this is truly visionary.

Rosendale Primary School has 700 pupils housed in a cramped Victorian building. They needed a library, but there was neither the money nor space to build one.  Instead, parent Kate Gorely had the idea of converting a London bus into a fit-for-purpose library. At a cost of slightly over £5,000 a group of 50 volunteers achieved just that in only nine months.

Slda Library Bus 05The creativity of design used in this library bus really caught the judges’ eyes. To begin with, all of the materials used in the bus were recycled or donated by local businesses. The bus signage was transformed so ‘no smoking’ signs became ‘no shussing’ signs, and the bus route notice at the front points to the destination of ‘where reading is fun’.  Around the bus a garden area, planted out by parents and pupils and lined with quick drying Astroturf, invites children in at playtimes.

By placing the Library Bus in the playground the school is sending a strong message to the children that reading is fun. As well, its position encourages parents to come with their children before and after school, building family patterns of library use and reading together.

Slda Library Bus 04The use of a double-decker bus creates interesting spaces. Fiction is housed on the top level – the logic being that boys tend to rush to the top of any bus automatically!  Each floor is divided into a formal study area at one end, utilising old bus seats with custom made table tops, with more informal reading areas on the remaining carpeted floor space. Beanbags and cushions provide comfy seats. The back seat of the bus is used quite effectively as a ‘story chair’ for adults. The driver’s seat serves as the issues desk. Bus stops around the school house book-boxes of materials from the collection.

Slda Library Bus 03The inside of the bus and the shelving are off-white to provide a calming, neutral space putting the focus on the books themselves. Coloured panels inside the shelves seem to glow creating a perfect backdrop for the face-out display of the books.

Overall this library bus is a concept for our recessionary times.  It doesn’t have to cost the earth to create a space that puts reading and libraries truly at the heart of the school. All it takes is for a school community with the vision…

Slda Library Bus 02