Schoolchildren and award-winning author Ali Sparkes helped officially reopen a newly refurbished North End Library.

Around 30 Year 6 pupils from New Horizons Primary School visited the library on Monday 5 February and enjoyed a talk from the Blue Peter Award-winning children’s author.

Ali read extracts from her books and explained it had been a visit to her local library as a child which first sparked her love of reading. Ali told the children: “Books change lives and libraries do too, they certainly did for me.”

At the end of the visit the children were each given a signed copy of Ali’s latest book, 100 Summers.

The recent refurbishments have created an even more inviting space for visitors. The main library floor has been re-carpeted, the wooden bookshelves re-stained, and new computer chairs added. The children’s library has been brightened up with new book boxes and there is new seating and tables for adults. A self-contained office ‘pod’ is also coming soon for meetings and calls, funded by Arts Council England’s Library Improvements Fund.

Portsmouth City Council Leader Cllr Steve Pitt joined the reopening event and said:

“It was great to have children from New Horizons and Ali Sparkes help us to reopen North End Library.

“This refurbishment is part of the council’s commitment to investing in our libraries and supporting people in Portsmouth to feel confident and enjoy reading from a young age.

“We’re proud to run nine modern libraries, a full digital library offering free audiobooks, music and magazines, as well as a mobile library and now a first library tuk-tuk service bringing important services into communities.”

Discover the Portsmouth Libraries and Archive’s digital library service.