This week I got to take a tour of the library at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School! Director Maria Burnham escorted me around the library – not an easy task in a library filled with students working on school work, group projects, and puzzle creation before school started for the day. There was a lot to see here, and everything looked just great. (Yes, it was hard to pull myself away from the books in the collection; but I was brave about it!) Maria is based here, but spends a lot of time charging around the building helping out in classrooms, teaching, and working with students wherever they could use a librarian. She is a great example of the way library service is changing for the better: we don’t sit and wait for people to come find us, instead library service goes where it can best be of service!
When you walk inside the door, you are immediately aware you are in a library that is connecting with patrons!
Not only is this a very nice looking book shelf, displaying all kinds of interesting new books – but it was created in shop class at the school by a student. Engaging patrons to that extent is an impressive achievement!
Students all need access to laptops for their school work, so the school provides them for a $60 per year fee. They can be taken home at night, or checked in and out from the library. These are waiting to be checked out to get the day started. Just looking at these nice neat rows is inspiring to the librarian in all of us! This is a big part of the staff’s work to begin and end each school day.
Even in her office, Maria is modeling pride in education for her patrons! This kind of connection, through art and pictures, is a clear demonstration of your attitude and practice in library work – and you can see that Maria loves her work! (And of course, that she supports the programs at her schools – great modeling of some great schools!!) Any patron, but particularly a high school aged one, would prefer to chat with a librarian who is showing how friendly and approachable she is – rather than the old-fashioned stereotype of a librarian who is crabby and shushing. Maria is shutting down that bad image in the best way!
At CMLE Headquarters, we loooove collaboration!! So this example of collaboration was great to see. This is a poster printer, and they can not only print up posters for themselves, but also print them for schools in their area. As a huge poster fan, I really wanted to stay and play with this printer; but there was so much more to see!!
It was so great to see the lovely collection! The murals on the walls are all over the library, painted by past students. The smaller art displays are recent student art projects. The collection itself was recently updated and separated out into genres. To make it even easier to find good books – the series books are numbered!! As a passionate fan of many (MANY!) series, I love this great usability feature!! It helps patrons right at the shelf to find what they need, or to know immediately they need to look elsewhere for their materials.
And the library has not overlooked their commitment to professional education! Any school or academic library serves more people than just their student population; and they are providing materials here useful to their teachers – or others interested in instructional ideas! You can’t see it in this picture (you just have to visit) but there are cheerful signs on the side of the shelf. Again: their thinking about user interaction, usability, and other ways to connect with the community they are serving, just shines through everywhere in this library!!
Thank you so much to the library people who are inviting me to come see your great places!! I am really looking forward to seeing all our members – so please be on the lookout for your invite! (Or, if you have something great happening that won’t last: email me today so I can come see it!!)