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Children’s author Annie Dalton opens new Hingham school library

PUBLISHED: 11:38 23 May 2012 | UPDATED: 13:59 23 May 2012

Official opening of the new library at Hingham Primary School by children's author Annie Dalton. Annie cutting the ribbon with literacy leader Jo Davidson.

Official opening of the new library at Hingham Primary School by children's author Annie Dalton. Annie cutting the ribbon with literacy leader Jo Davidson.

A new Norfolk school library has opened to give children the opportunity to be enthusiastic and expert readers and teach them the value of books.

Children’s author Annie Dalton, 64, was on hand for the opening of the new library at Hingham Primary School yesterday.

The school’s headteacher Vickie Newrick said the main idea was to gather together all the school’s books, which were “spread out” around the school and bring them into one place.

However, she added the school also wanted to create a vibrant centre where the children could read and learn, which has been called the Hub.

As well as boasting 600 new books, the Hub has also been designed as a learning space where the pupils can sit and enjoy a book and there will also be “reading cafes” every fortnight where parents can read with their children.

Mrs Newrick said while the school’s staff were collecting the books for the library they took the opportunity to update the school’s collection by disposing of older books which were in a tatty state and spending £3,500 from the school budget on new books, including classics and the latest novels.

She added the project had been carried out in consultation with Marilyn Brocklehurst, owner of Norfolk Children’s Book Centre.

She added the children particularly enjoyed having a library and many had volunteered to help out by becoming Hub Helpers.

“We wanted to raise the profile of reading in school so we got all our books together and put them in a pile and we set aside £3,500 from the school budget to buy any new books. We have disposed of the old tatty ones.”

Ms Dalton herself was inspired to become a writer by the time she spent in libraries while growing up in Suffolk.

She has gone on to write novels for teens and young adults, including Night Maze and The Real Tilly Beany, both of which were shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, which recognises outstanding books for children and young adults.

The Old Buckenham resident, who used to be the writer-in-residence at a Wellingborough prison, said she had seen first-hand the transformative power reading had on the prison inmates and believed books could have a similar impact on children.

She believed reading books was more preferable to reading over the internet as it was a much more personal journey for the reader and said reading helped children to learn empathy with others.

She said she had a new children’s book coming out in August about a magical moon cat called Moonbeans who helps make dreams come true.

“I would not be a writer if it was not for my village library. Reading was like food for my soul. I just think reading helps children to develop an inner self.”

Of the library itself, she added: “It is wonderful. I think as libraries are being closed around the nation, it is just wonderful that this one is being opened.”

dominic.bareham2@archant.co.uk

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