The Manor Prep School, Oxfordshire

Children's Library at The Manor Prep School

“For any school thinking of refurbishing their library, I would strongly advise to be ruthless with your weeding! We were shocked when we dispensed with 1,500 books but our book loan results are amazing and prove the point that less is more”
Catherine Mentzel, Librarian, The Manor Prep


increase in book loans

The Manor Prep School, Oxfordshire

A leading prep school in Oxfordshire, catering for 370 pupils from 2 to 11 years.


Physically located in the centre of the school, the library at The Manor Prep is very exposed to children, parents, staff and visitors alike. After years of working with tired carpets and out-of-date shelving it was time for a refurbishment.

Using a winning combination of bookshelves, soft seating and study tables with the addition of two Hideyhole Seats, the library has been transformed and already issue figures show that pupils are borrowing 64% more books than before.


With an outdated library space, staff at The Manor Prep felt that their pupils’ reading experiences were being hampered. Over the years, walls had become covered with posters and more and more books were added but it got to the point that children had sensory overload.

How BookSpace helped

Aware of how the library is a showcase for the school, we wanted to create a space that excited, not only pupils but staff and visitors too. We used Hideyhole Seats to give pupils a cosy, fun space to enjoy a book and ensured there was plenty of soft seating throughout the library to encourage children to stop and browse. The layout was designed to maximize shelving space but also to encourage a flow throughout the space and a colourful palette of blues and purples ensured the library was bright and sophisticated in its appeal.


“Since the library was refurbished we have seen our average book loan per day go up by 64% (from 13.28 books/day (2016) to 21.8 books/day (2017) and non-fiction borrowing has gone up 54%. It’s amazing!” says Catherine Mentzel, Librarian. “The children absolutely love coming to the library now and of course the Hideyhole seats, far from being a source of arguments, have actually turned out to be the biggest draw. Staff are also more frequent visitors now and we encourage them to take books for their children & grandchildren.”

3-Way Seating with Bookcases at The Manor Prep School
Library Furniture at The Manor Prep School

Wall mural created by Kevin Arrowood, Big Bush Creative

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