Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The School with Three Libraries [...]

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The School with Three Libraries [...]

Article excerpt

Byline: KATIE LAW is coping with

The school with three libraries but few books Academy that cost PS26m can't meet the demand of pupils keen to read A NEW school opened in one of the most deprived parts of Kensington in September but the headteacher readily admits there is a lack of books for its first students.

Three libraries have been built for Kensington Aldridge Academy's eventual intake of 1,250, but two are entirely empty and one has shelves only half-filled. KATIE LAW visits to see how the school is coping with the demand from its eager young readers.

THE Diary Of A Wimpy Kid is one of 11-year-old Emily Russell's favourite books, but there's a waiting list at her school library of 18 other children wanting to read it too.

"I try to read as much as I can and the library is a good place to come and read and be calm," says her friend, Emma Swift, who is halfway through the Twilight series but is also going to have to wait her turn for the next one.

Emily and Emma are two of the 184 year 7 pupils at the new Kensington Aldridge Academy in north Kensington, which opened in September.

While the PS26 million building is lavish, of the three libraries that have been built for the eventual intake of 1,250 pupils, two are empty and one has shelves half-filled with books.

Librarian Vashti Turner, who came from a school in Southwark, said: "The children here are immensely keen to read... so it's a shame we can't cater to them as I'd like to. Most schools have well-stocked libraries and children not necessarily interested in reading. This is the complete reverse. We've only got two copies of the Wimpy Kid, and not even a complete set of Malorie Blackman -- and she's the Children's Laureate."

As he shows me round, the principal, David Benson, explains: "The problem is one of a huge diseconomy of scale and the budget for library books has been extremely limited. …

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