With the help of local poet Simon Lamb and artists Michelle Winslow and Lynn McNally, North Ayrshire Libraries have been delivering a host of creative workshops for Primary 4/5s at Irvine and Dreghorn library.

Funded by the Public Library Improvement Fund, the ‘Off the Page’ project is running between May and June with additional activities for the families of the children involved during the summer holidays.

Taking place over the last few months, they have welcomed pupils from Castlepark, Loudoun Montgomery and Springside primaries, so that the children can participate in a series of fun, action-packed film, art and poetry sessions linked to the literacy subjects they are studying already at school.

Irvine Times: Castlepark Pupils learn about astrology symbols

Most recently, Castlepark pupils who have been learning about Scottish mythology and Celtic symbolism joined local artist Lynn McNally for a messy and fun block-printing session.

With a Greek mythology theme, the session allowed the young people to learn about their own starsigns before trying their hand at a block printing technique similar to the one used by Ancient Greece which dates back to the 4th Century.

Their teacher Mrs Morrison commented: “Thank you to North Ayrshire Libraries for the recent Off the Page sessions.

Irvine Times: Roller table was the best part!

“The children have had a great time and haven’t stopped talking about them since. Having the chance to be learning, making and thinking creatively in the library is something the whole class really enjoyed and several of the pupils have mentioned that they are planning trips back to the library with their friends and family very soon.

“Being part of ‘Off the Page’ has been fantastic to spark our young people’s creative sides and also show them all that their local library has to offer and demonstrate that books are about so much more than just reading...”

More literacy-based library class visits are planned over the coming weeks where ‘Off the Page’ sessions will use a combination of poetry, the arts and film to stimulate creativity so that pupils can explore literacy in new and creative ways.”

Irvine Times: Lynne gives a demoLynne gives a demo (Image: NAC)

Workshop coordinator and artist Lynn McNally said: “It has been fantastic to be involved creatively alongside the pupils from Springside, Castlepark and Loudoun Montgomery schools.

“Having been given the theme of mythology, we have used previous literacy sessions that the children have been learning about in school already to inspire the artwork we’ve been creating. A particular highlight has been when we created majestic, mythical creature designs together using ceramic paints on acetate.

“The latest enjoyable session was all about symbols in Greek mythology and how these can communicate further meaning. We had fun, creative printing sessions where the children learned new skills to experiment with going forward.

"It’s been wonderful facilitating creative learning with the kids. I hope they were as inspired as I was. Their work is superb.”

Irvine Times: Time for the prints to dry

Council leader Marie Burns added: “We are delighted to hear that pupils who have participated already are getting so much out of the ongoing Off the Page sessions.

“Language and literacy are key pillars of learning and so this project is a great way to promote the importance of literacy from a young age while encouraging more of our young pupils to join their local library via the creative workshops.

“The sessions will also improve the confidence of all the young people involved and will hopefully encourage more of them to read and write for enjoyment in their own free time.”