An estimated $65,000 redesign of Wellington High School’s library aims to turn the existing facility into a “media hub” and should be complete by the time classes begin in August.
The idea of modernization was first brought before the board of education last summer by the district’s media specialist, Emily Campofredano.
Taking inspiration from Mentor High School and Columbus’ Big Walnut Middle School, she said students no longer want a library that forces them to learn in straight rows of desks and chairs.
“This has been about an 18-month process in putting this together,” she told the school board July 18. “These schools turned their library around by morphing them into a collaborative learning space that reflects the modern learning styles of kids.”
“Libraries shouldn’t be a quiet place anymore,” she said. “They should be an aesthetically pleasing space that encourages collaboration whether it’s a large group or a small one.”
Most funding will come directly from the school district with the Wellington Schools Endowment Fund also contributing about $4,700 of the total for the purchase of new televisions, dry-erase boards, counter tops, and sky panels for lighting.
A green room could also be added to the project. It would be used to edit and create videos.
Campofredano said extensive electrical updates are needed for that to happen.
“The room was built around 1970 to 1971 and there are probably four outlets total,” she said. “With kids nowadays, every single one of them has at least one device on them at all times. Having a green room would let them work on video presentations at times when they can’t get into Mr. (Dave) Conklin’s classroom.”
Furniture is being purchased from Demco Interiors for $38,500.
Campofredano said the new decor must be moveable and able to be customized to suit the needs of any particular day.
“Classrooms aren’t going to look the same 10, 20, and 50 years from now,” she said. “We should be preparing as much as we possibly can for those changes. Kids are on the move. They multitask in ways we didn’t.”
Attempts to secure grant money for the furniture were unsuccessful, she said.
At the start of last school year, English classes at WHS were surveyed about their library use and ideas they had for improvement in an effort to open up more space in the room.
That led Campofredano and staff members to separate fiction books into different genres and get rid of nonfiction and history books that had become dated.
Just over 7,000 books still remain in the library, she said.
“More books doesn’t always mean you have a healthy collection,” she said. “For every five books we got rid of, we might have only brought in one or two, but the new books are the most current and best resources to use.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.