School districts across Ohio are pushing the envelope for what services a school library can provide.
Wellington Schools media specialist Emily Campofredano wants to bring some of these innovations to the village.
“Kids today don’t learn in straight rows of tables and desks,” she said. “Our libraries need to be a place where they can seek out their own interests and collaborate on projects formally and informally.”
Campofredano recently laid out a $15,000 to 20,000 library improvement plan for Wellington High School to the board of education. She referenced Mentor High School and Big Walnut Middle School in Columbus as prime examples of library modernization.
Her proposal is a three-year process.
Year one calls for massive restructuring of the library’s inventory to weed out books with low circulation and those with now-obsolete information.
A book sale would be held to raise money for the improvements. The process of replacing the facility’s furniture would also begin and keep Mentor’s modern and portable ideals in mind.
Updating the library’s electrical system with more outlets and charging terminals for digital devices would be a top priority in year two as well as bringing in new flat screen monitors and dry-erase boards. Ten to 15 desktop computers would be removed to make way for new student workstations monitored by an online sign-in system similar to Big Walnut’s.
Furniture acquisition would continue throughout the process and end in year three. The WHS audio-visual storage space would be turned into a video production room with a green screen and the library’s wooden doors would be replaced with clear glass to create a more inviting atmosphere.
“Maybe it’s us who has to change,” said Campofredano. “We can’t keep trying to force kids to learn how we learned.”
Mentor High School’s 2,200 students make use of a two-floor facility with 26 work spaces, including a green room for video production. The district runs a MacBook distribution program with a $25 yearly fee for students. Treadmills with laptop connectivity are also found in their library, which they call their “hub.”
Big Walnut Middle School employs similar workstations to Mentor’s, flat screen TVs that students can connect laptops to via HDMI cables, and a Google-powered sign-in system. It was funded through a $20,000 county grant and assistance from the district PTO.
“These workstations are treated as ‘maker’s spaces’,” said Campfredano. “It can also provide an outlet for students to research difficult questions they may be afraid to ask about during class or at home.”
School board member Kevin Stump found the plan encouraging.
“The difference that clear glass can make in a library or meeting room is amazing,” he said. “It really changes the attitude. We should continue to take a hard look at this because it’s a fantastic idea to shoot for the stars.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Photos courtesy of Emily Campofredano Mentor High School’s library, which students call their “hub,” encourages spontaneity and unconventional learning among students.