May 18, 2021

York school crowdfunds for ‘magical’ reading cottage


“An abundance of literacy treasures”: artist’s impression of Bookend Cottage, from Carr Junior School’s Aviva fundraising page

Hot on the heels of last week’s juicy book-box scandal, Yorkshire pops up on our radars again today—but this time for altogether more wholesome reasons.

Carr Junior School in Acomb, a suburb west of York, has begun a crowdfunder to help realise their dream of building Bookend Cottage—”a magical space in which children can lose themselves in books.”

A report in York Mix features some beautiful artist’s impressions of what the new 30-capacity space, designed for both classroom time and individual readers, will look like. Featuring a circular exterior door, cosy fireplace and indoor tree sculpture, Bookend Cottage will, according to its Creative Director Alex Bedingham, “entice children toward the library, and once inside, will boast an enchanting ambiance akin to the worlds and lands of the very books in which they will become immersed. We foresee the fantasy and intrigue to spark the inception of a lifelong love of reading.”

So far, so whimsical, right? But Bedingham also highlights the serious reasons for the Cottage’s construction:

As our local community develops and grows, so does the demand for school places, thus seeing us welcoming a greater number into the Carr family. Over the past decade, this increase has seen the addition of further classrooms, but a further rise in admissions means we again find ourselves short on learning spaces … Our school lies in an area of deprivation significantly greater than the city as a whole. Many of our children are unable to access books of adequate quality, nor a quiet space to read. Our library would provide both – offering an abundance of literacy treasures, encouraging parents and carers to spend time reading to and with their children.

With its emphasis on access for the wider community, eco-friendly building and—as explained in the crowdfunder’s accompanying video—turning readers into leaders, frankly we’re all for it. Plus it looks cute as hell.

As we emerge from the pandemic, and with a lot of schoolkids having spent much of last year learning virtually, spaces like these—to socialise, learn and collaborate—will be more vital than ever.


Tom Clayton is publishing executive at Melville House UK.