A NEW and improved school library is proving a big hit with book-loving pupils.

The former computer suite at Pitsea Junior School was transformed by staff, students and parents to create a colourful new reading space.

Classes are taught in the bright, spacious room, which is triple the size of the old library and also welcomes pupils during their lunchbreaks.

The school welcomed Baroness Angela Smith to a special ceremony to officially open the new library, which saw teachers and children dress up as their favourite book characters.

Lady Smith, the former Labour MP for Basildon and east Thurrock, is a former student of the junior school, in High Road, Pitsea.

Sue Drew, literacy co-ordinator at the school, said: “We are trying to encourage the enjoyment of reading and believe that despite the technical age books are still important.

“The library has been a real community project.

“Mums helped us design the colour scheme, my daughter painted pictures on the wall and the pupils had a say in what new books they wanted.”

She said the children had immediately taken to the new-look space.

She added: “The children are loving it so much we have had to organise a staff rota so it can stay open at lunchtime.

“We don't have a card system so they are free to borrow books and can keep them as long as they need.”

The library features a range of modern reading equipment and features Kindles, electronic book readers.

The school has also made sure it has computers and i-Pads in all of its classrooms.

Lady Smith was delighted at her look around the library and the new technology being used.

She said: “It was absolutely fantastic, it's always an honour to be invited back.

“The school has certainly changed a lot since I was there