KM Charity Team literacy mascot Buster Bug was guest of honour at a fancy-dress celebration of a school’s stunning new library.
The surprise visit made the grand opening extra special for pupils at Luton Infant and Nursery School, as they take part in the reading reward scheme Buster’s Book Club – and have already clocked up 41,460 minutes’ reading time this academic year.
Organisers of the scheme were delighted that Buster could support the school’s efforts to encourage reading, especially when they learned about the library’s origins.
Creative and imaginative staff at the school had turned disaster into opportunity when a burst water pipe ravaged the IT suite during the midwinter freeze.
Instead of groaning under the burden of making good the damage, staff saw the flooding as a chance to create a dedicated library for the school.
Deputy head Liz Gamet explained: “We didn’t have a dedicated library space before, and we decided to take the opportunity to create one in the heart of the school.”
But with a £15,000 flood-damage repair bill putting extra pressure on the school’s already stretched budget, staff faced a battle to find resources for the new facilities.
This is where teaching assistants Julie Davidson and Patricia Mitchell stepped in.
Ms Gamet added: “We have two very talented teaching assistants who took on the role of decorating the library.
“They begged, borrowed and stole from family and friends, and were really creative in the way they used resources, creating trees out of chicken wire and tissues, for example.
“The children absolutely love it. The whole class can go there for their library time every week.
“There’s a reading bed, and Bear Hunt and Beegu-themed spaces. They all use it as much as they can.”
The library’s official opening took place on Monday (June 18), with Buster joining pupils for a special assembly, and children dressing as book characters and telling him about their favourite stories.
Ms Gamet said pupils were thrilled when they learned the identity of their VIP guest. She said: “They were beside themselves when they heard they were going to meet Buster. Their faces were a picture.”
Buster’s Book Club project officer Charlotte Hayes said: “We were delighted to join in the celebrations for the new library and we hope Buster’s visit will inspire the children with their reading.”
Buster’s Book Club encourages children to read extra at home, with classes competing each week to be awarded the Reading Class of the Week Trophy. A monthly inter-school reading challenge awards winning classes tickets to leisure attractions or visits by storytellers.
Sign up at www.bustersbookclub.co.uk