Holy Cross Catholic High School

Situated on an attractive site on the south-western side of Chorley, Holy Cross Catholic High School has a rich tradition of sporting and academic success. In partnership with the local parishes and parents, their aim is to provide the best possible education for young people between the ages of 11 and 16.

Working closely with award winning architects, Cassidy & Ashton and the client, we embarked on a project to redesign and furnish the school library. Our brief was to create a modern space in what was once an underutilized area of the school. Staff wanted an inspirational room that would not only encourage students to pick up a book and read, but also a multi-functional area that could be used for a variety of purposes.

Our process began with a thorough consultation period with the staff, discussing layouts, furniture options and colour schemes. The challenge was to design a space that would accommodate the school’s growing library book collection and also provide flexibility of use for individual and/or group study.

To enable us to achieve the storage capacity required space planning was key. We introduced a total of 67 bookcases, which not only hold books, but also magazines and journals. Clusters of comfortable soft seating, including a centre piece sofa, create a relaxed environment for students to simply sit quietly and read or engage in group discussions. Additional features include a centrally located reception desk, ICT zone, individual and group study areas and a media section.

Versatility in the area was important for the school; the introduction of stacking tables and chairs means the space can be quickly and easily re-configured from a teaching space to a presentation/meeting area for staff and governors, fully optimising the space available. The position of the reception desk allows staff to have full view of the surrounding library as well as providing a generous work surface for the librarian.

The library now offers much more than shelves and shelves of books, it has been transformed; with it’s stylish furniture, bright colour scheme and inspirational quotes around the area, it now proves itself to be more than just a place to sit and read. The fresh contemporary feel compliments the school’s image and ensures the new interior is truly flexible. In the few weeks the new library has been operational, staff have already seen a 20% increase in traffic, and in a recent open evening, parents and other visitors were ‘blown away’ by this outstanding space.

“To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books” – Carlos Maria Dominguez (Argentine writer and journalist)