The Sophia Duleep Singh Library opening

On International Women’s Day staff and students at Ark Elvin celebrated the official opening, and naming, of their new school library. 

Named after a prominent Suffragette and tireless campaigner for women’s rights, The Sophia Duleep Singh Library opened on Thursday 8th March, 2018. 

Sophia was a tireless, internationalist, campaigner for women's rights and played a prominent role in the suffragette movement in London. It seems fitting that our school library will be named after her on International Women's Day this year.​

Sophia Duleep Singh campaigned for the rights of women in the UK and India. Her self-declared purpose in life was ‘the advancement of women’. Her involvement in the suffrage movement was by no means minimal: Sophia attended rallies and demonstrations, publically spoke out about levels of inequality and gender-based discrimination, organised with the leading figures of the movement and later became the president of the Committee of the Suffragette Fellowship in 1928. Under her presidency, Sophia witnessed the passing of the Equal Franchise Act, which ensured women would share the same voting rights as men.  

Sophia’s aims of equality and justice did not stop at Britain’s borders. She was a prominent supporter of Indian independence and an open advocate for women’s rights across the world. Ark Elvin Academy took great pride in naming their brand-new library after such an important woman on International Women’s Day this year.

There was an official ribbon cutting, by one of our students observed by staff & Erica Wax - Ark Elvin Govneror followed by a few small speeches and some free food served. The library full of interesting displays and our new collections.

Students gathered around the entrance at lunch-time, eager to be the first to step inside the newly named library. Pupil Librarian, Visakha Harkisan, and the Principle, Ms Curtis, cut the ribbon, signalling its opening. 

In the evening after the successful International Women’s Day question time, delegates, staff and students came up to the library for a reception to mark the special day and to celebrate the library opening.

Among those attending was Claire Musgrave from Marshall Wace, who have very generously donated a sizable sum of money to the new library. At the reception, Ms Musgrave spoke about the importance of school libraries and the impact they can have on a child’s educational experience. 

The money donated to the school library will mean it is able to grow and better support the pupils of Ark Elvin. 

Claire Musgrave from Marshall Wace

Erica Wax - Ark Elvin Govneror

The library was decorated with displays, celebrating authors such as Malorie Blackman, Sita Brahmachari and Juno Dawson, all of whose work is held in the new library. Delegates and staff spent time speaking with the team of Pupil Librarians who help run and maintain The Sophia Duleep Singh Library. The Pupil Librarians certainly displayed the schools values of mastery and courage, by putting on such a well-attended and exciting event.