New chapter for book fans

Carterton Community College Head Niall McWilliams with, left to right, Ashley White, 13, Amy Thomson, 14, and Eleanor Wheeler, 15, in the library

Carterton Community College Head Niall McWilliams with, left to right, Ashley White, 13, Amy Thomson, 14, and Eleanor Wheeler, 15, in the library Buy this photo

First published in News Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

PUPILS at Carterton Community College finally have a new library after a four year gap without the facility.

For the past year, headteacher Niall McWilliams and governors have been working on re-establishing the library.

And the £50,000 facility was officially opened on Tuesday by education expert Sir Tim Brighouse.

Mr McWilliams said the library had been changed into an engineering suite by his predecessor.

Now the engineering equipment has been moved to other classrooms and the library reclaimed.

Mr McWilliams said: “When the library went, all the books were distributed to different parts of the school, but that meant there was no central venue for students to come and read, to open up different worlds and get kids excited about literacy and writing.

“It's taken us four years to raise money in little bits and pieces for us to be able to put it back.”

The new library was designed following consultation with student focus groups, and includes new shelving, furniture and equipment in a refurbished room.

The shelves have been filled with new books, some of which were bought thanks to grant support from Carterton Lions, Carterton Town Council and individual donations.

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The library also features top of the range technology, including a 3D board and iPads for pupils’ use.

Stock from the former library which had been kept in storage has also joined the shelves.

A week of book themed events has been held to celebrate the opening, including visits from authors Phil Earle and Martyn Bedford.

Mr McWilliams said he wanted to ensure the library was available for the wider community.

As well as lessons being held there and the facility being open for pupils before and after school and at lunchtimes, he said he would be encouraging primary schools and children’s centre groups to use it, along with the newly established Carterton Community College Book Club.

He also hoped to make it available for young mothers to use during the day and in holidays where appropriate, and in the future to make it the venue for a literature festival.

Mr McWilliams said: “It's been a really positive reaction from students. It’s already busy and it's going to be well used.”

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