If you’ve been following our work at KEY, you will know that St. Patricks was one of the first libraries we ever worked on. In fact, it was where the Library Constitution was born, after students told us that no matter what we gave them, and what rights we educated them about, they didn’t know how to go about ensuring those rights were protected. So one day, late in the afternoon, we sat down alone with the students, and brainstormed what the ideal library rules would be for them, and how with rights come responsibilities, and what this would look like. We have put Library Constitutions in nearly 30 of our libraries now, and it is really the glue that holds it all together.
Thus, it goes without saying that St. Patricks is very close to our hearts. So when the original library we donated was moved into a new space nearly 5 times the size, we watched closely. We eventually became concerned when we found out that the school did not have enough resources to furnish the enlarged library adequately, or add more books. And we were dismayed that the new library no longer had interiors up to the standard we think important, such as tiled floors to create a warm and inviting atmosphere, and curtains, and lots of sofas and comfy chairs for relaxed reading, and of course, books.
It was important to us that the St. Patricks library was restored to the standard so important to us, as it was after all, a KEY library. So this year we worked on renovating to tile the floors (it was like tiling 5 normal libraries!) and having curtains made, and buying more tables and chairs and sofas and coffee tables. And of course, adding more books. We finished this refurbishment by upgrading the library cataloguing system to an automated online version, making data collection and monitoring much easier for everyone.
The handover was a wonderful day. The boys had been running up the stairs to peer inside for weeks as the renovations and setting up were underway. We were able to be at the school for the first hours they were allowed inside their new library, and I think the pictures speak for themselves. Every seat was taken, and we were told later that some boys refused to go to dinner, because they didn’t want to leave their books. We hope that doesn’t happen every night, but that is why we do what we do – to nurture the love of reading.