Bancroft’s Preparatory School Library

Bancroft’s Preparatory School Library

School Library Design Turns Obstacles into Assets

ÔÇ£I love the new library because it feels bright and happyÔÇØ

Bancroft’s Preparatory School in Woodford Green, Essex, now has a bright, colourful new library that is loved by staff, students and parents and is a great example of how a small space and a small budget are no barrier to high quality interior design.



It was the new librarian Kathryn Houghton, who first had the idea for refreshing the existing library space but with the help of Demco Interiors the idea grew into a totally revitalised space. She said: ÔÇ£Once the project started I felt that I needed advice because I just didn’t have the ideas. With the help of Demco I then started to feel excited about what could be achieved. With the support of our head teacher and the parents’ association the budget was increased which meant our ideas could suddenly become a realityÔÇØ.



Kathryn then started on weeding out stock and gave old items to charity, while remaining information books have been categorized into project boxes that can be requested by teachers at any time. The new shelves are now less cluttered making it easier for children to see the titles.



Demco’s design opened up the space, using their popular maple Mimi shelving with random coloured shelves and end panels, in a combination of single sided wall mounted and low level double sided bays on castors. The coloured trim on the MIMI shelving is a particularly nice detail on low level bays where the top of the shelving is at eye level. A built in corner seat, with a vinyl citrus green seat, is flanked by bays of shelving. The low level shelving defines the perimeter of the library but keeps sightlines open and gives the space an open plan feel.



Summer blue study tables, with light grey edging, are cleverly designed to fit around two fixed, central poles that support a low ceiling. The poles had previously been an eyesore, painted bright red they dominated the library space, but at Demco’s suggestion they were painted silver grey, immediately turning an obstacle into an asset. Bright green, sturdy but stylish, funky stools, a bean bag, kinderboxes, a librarian desk, a self service pod, mobile returns box and a tall Mimi 2 storage cupboard complete the interior. A wall mounted, bay of Mimi shelving occupies a recess wall on the other side of the corridor and is used for quick change displays and exciting promotions. Everything is laid out in mini zones that can be re-arranged at any time. The clever design and creative layout means that there is a lot packed into a small space.



As Kathryn moves between the prep and senior school she is not always in the library, so children can self issue and return their own books which they do with no trouble at all. She was also keen to measure and evaluate library activity. Introducing self service with the Oliver LMS now means that she has data for accurate evaluation of usage to present to the head teacher.



Kathryn feels that she has been very lucky to be supported by the school, an excellent internal maintenance department and the Demco team, to create a library for which she has big ideas including her own innovative and exciting Summer Reading Challenge and Boredom Buster.



She adds: ÔÇ£Thank you Demco for providing an excellent service. Our new library is a lovely, bright open and colourful space which the students and staff really enjoy. It is now a flexible learning space which will hopefully grow and develop in line with the school needs.ÔÇØ



Finally, in the words of some of the children:


ÔÇ£I love the new library because it feels bright and happyÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I really like the library because it looks more modernÔÇØ.

ÔÇ£I love the colourful book shelvesÔÇØ.


– e n d s –


19 June 2015



For further information on Demco Interiors, contact the team on 01992 454600 or email You can also see some of our projects at Twitter:@demcointeriors.


Editorial information: Jane Grimwood, 01525 852003


RT @petergaw: Mansfield Woodhouse @NottsLibraries refurbishment work starting to come together thanks to @arcpartnership @DemcoInteriors of…

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