Staff and pupils from St Paul’s Primary and Nursery School in Derry have ensured hundreds of old story books will get a new lease of life with the help of Derry bookshop Little Acorns.
The books were rescued from the skip following a clear out at the former school’s library and will now be enjoyed by other children across the world after the school contacted Jenni Doherty from Little Acorns Bookstore.
The books have been cherished by thousands of local children who have passed through St Paul’s, formerly Slievemore Primary School, over the past 40 years.
St Paul’s Vice-Principal Gareth Blackery said the school are planning to open a new library in the summer of 2017, and the old books needed to be moved out to make way for new stock. “We had approximately 1,000 old books which were in, for the most part, fair condition, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction.”
Mr Blackery said the school didn’t want to dump the books if they be re-utilised to help others , particularly given that St Paul’s is a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, supporting every child having a right to education.
“We are an Eco School and have recently received our Eco School Green Flag, therefore recycling is something we take very seriously,” he added.
Mr Blackery got in touch with Jenni Doherty, who runs Little Acorns at the Yellow Yard off Bishop Street, who said she was take the books and ensure they were put to good use.
“Jenni also made a generous cash donation to our school which we will use to buy books for our new library,” Mr Blackery said.
Ms. Doherty said she was delighted to be given the opportunity to help ensure new generations of young people at home and abroad enjoy the books.
“I took the books home, cleaned them, repaired them and the little library cards are gorgeous and I ‘ve recycled them.
“There was a lot of non-fiction books that you would not get now, and they are so precious. A couple of big publishers that used to do non-fiction aren’t doing them any more so it is brilliant to see
“They might not be worth much in monetary value but for picture value and for content they are excellent.”
As well as educational fiction, including Ladybird originals featuring Jane and Peter (with the same books and illustrations now being re-printed), there are also vintage children’s books on everything from recycling scrap material to explaining different trades.
“A lot of the occupations don’t exist any more, and it was professional adults who wrote the books,” Jenni said. “There are also classics here in mint condition and they are coming back into fashion, so I’m delighted with those.”
Some books will be sold on while others will be donated to Concern, and sent abroad, including to countries were English language books for teaching children are extremely rare and difficult to come by. “They will all get a whole new lease of life. Nothing is wasted,” Jenni said.