‘There is something about a library that is a precious space,’ says former Chair of Governors, Portsmouth High School - Portsmouth High School

‘There is something about a library that is a precious space,’ says former Chair of Governors, Portsmouth High School

A former Chair of Governors and alumna of Portsmouth High School officially opened the senior school library this week. Mrs Anne McMeehan Roberts, from the Class of 1972, made a generous donation to the school to enable the library space to be reworked. 

Now, the new McMeehan Roberts’ Library looks and feels completely different with the new refurbishments being made as sustainable as possible. Old shelving was cut down and reused to make new reduced height shelving to maximise the space. There is now more of an emphasis on reading for pleasure. The fiction section of the library has expanded and the layout has enabled light to pour in from the library gardens.  The soft seating area has been enlarged with more room for relaxing with a book. The non-fiction section has been updated and remains relevant for academic study with new signage making selection more straightforward.

As well as Mrs McMeehan Roberts and her husband, Mr Jim Roberts, the event was attended by Mrs Cheryl Giovannoni, Chief Executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust, Mr Jonathan Davis, Chief Financial Officer, Girls’ Day School Trust, the school’s current Chair of Governors, Mrs Krysia Butwilowska, the Headmistress, Mrs Jane Prescott and other members of the Senior Leadership Team, Head Girl, Annalee Macfarlane, the school’s Librarian, Mrs Marie Bartlett, members of the facilities team, who had carried out extensive refurbishment and members of the English teaching staff as well girls from across the year groups.

‘There is something about a library that is a precious space,’ said Mrs McMeehan Roberts addressing the pupils.  ‘There is so much scope to be able to learn and explore.  Access to libraries online across the world is now such a privilege and a chance for us all to learn and continue to learn. Your curiosity should enable you all to explore and look beyond the curriculum; the world is your oyster.

‘I wanted to say ‘thank you’ by giving a donation.  When you are all soaring in your careers, remember to stop and say ‘thank you’.  My husband and I both hold education and learning in high esteem.  It is an honour to be invited today to open the library and a privilege to have been a pupil here.’

Mrs Giovannoni added:

‘What makes the GDST powerful is the alumnae who have been part of the last 150 years and those pupils to come who will be part of the next 150 years.  Continue, girls, to make us proud and contribute to the world in magnificent ways and remember that at Portsmouth High School, your journey started.’

Tabitha, Year 10, who was at the opening said:

‘The range of books has vastly increased and the space makes reading much more pleasurable. It was very special being here today to see the library formally opened by an alumna.’

‘We are so grateful for Anne to so generously donate to this inspiring space,’ said Headmistress, Mrs Jane Prescott.  ‘We are so appreciative of all that our alumnae do by giving not only financially but of their time and expertise to our pupils.

‘We are also extremely grateful to the Senior Parent Staff Association, ably led by Chair, Mrs Julie Riggott, for a substantial donation from them to enable this refurbishment to happen.’