Our school administration approached me about exploring the idea of updating our existing library spaces three years ago. We brainstormed the issue for months and even considered adding on to our high school library by overtaking an attached courtyard. We soon scrapped this plan since it was going to be a high cost to our district. After examining our former junior high library facility (which is still a part of our 8th -12th grade high school complex), we noticed that the space could be expanded to include an outside entryway, abandoned office space, and teachers' lounge to create a much larger space. We began the process of planning how the renovated areas could look and function.
We knew the spaces would have to be large enough to hold over 12,000 print materials with room to grow. Our learning community would also need flexible areas that would allow collaboration events with their classes. There are many students interested in gaming and coding. We wanted to have an area specifically for these programming and gaming activities. The existing junior high library area had spaces to fulfill all these needs. The old teachers' lounge had areas that would serve as workspaces, restrooms, and storage for textbooks.
Our administration, French Architects, Hill & Cox construction, and myself, along with Mrs. Misti Bell (my partner teacher librarian) began working together on the concept development of this renovation project. The planning and construction portion took about a year altogether. The finished product contains many flexible and very welcoming areas. Let's take a closer look at some of the highlights:
Fiction Room Features:
|The cafe themed bar with pop up power access for patrons|
|The cafe themed area with movable shelving units and stage|
|The stage area|
|Another view of the cafe area with curved movable shelving units|
|The Gable Bradley Band performs at our grand opening event|
|The gaming/ coding room|
|The computer lab within the fiction room|
|Computer lab setup in the fiction room|
Entryway and Main Circulation Desk Area:
|Circulation desk view as seen from fiction room (the doors to the left go directly into the parking lot)|
|Patron seating with pop up power access in circulation desk area|
Non-Fiction Room Features:
|Non-Fiction computer lab area with manga/ graphic novel area located to the right|
|Manga/ graphic novel area with comfortable seating|
|Non-Fiction circulation desk with office area in background|
We can already see that the newly renovated facility will be much better for our numerous library collaboration programs. Students and teachers have been very complimentary of the design and furniture selections. One of the most memorable quotes from a student, "I don't really read, but this new library makes me want to read!"
The Lakeside High School Library Media Center team is truly grateful to our school board and administration for this wonderful investment! Lakeside School District Superintendent, Mr. Shawn Cook, empowered us to "dream big" for our learning community! I want to also thank Lakeside Assistant Superintendents, Mr. Rick McLaughlin and Mr. Bruce Orr, for supporting and advising us through this process. We are grateful to Lakeside High School Principal, Mr. Darin Landry, for sharing and supporting our vision of this project for our students. He and his team consistently support the library program!
We want to express additional thanks to Mr. David French (Principal Architect and C.E.O) of French Architects for his designs and Mrs. Dawn Shafer (Interior Design Project Manager) for her amazing interior design work. The French Architects website can be found here. We also wish to express thanks to Mr. Robbie Cox of Hill & Cox Construction for bringing all the physical pieces together and making the library a reality. Hill & Cox's site can be found here. We are also very grateful to Lakeside School District Director of Technology, Mrs. Melinda Dodd, and her team for helping us with the various technology additions in the renovation!
What Happens Next?
Our team has learned a lot through this process. We will share more about our journey in this new facility in the coming months and years. The exciting questions we ponder are the following;
- What discoveries await our learners?
- What will they learn from the voices of the authors whose works are housed in the library?
- What will they create in our makerspaces and gaming/ coding room?
- Who will they connect to outside of our school's walls using various technology, webcams, and projector screens?
This much is certain... the adventure has only just begun.
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