Angie and I were invited to visit the Avon Elementary School library, where we were in the capable hands of Cathy Studer and Gayle. They showed us around their very nice library, in between helping their young patrons and teachers in technology distress. (A busy library’s work is never done!) Teaching a class in the computer lab behind the library was Dana Dingmann, and swamped with busy kids working on assorted projects. Dana also helps in the library, and works on devices for the school.
When you walk in the door you immediately see this great display. It changes monthly, and this month they are focused on food and books. This theme carries over to other displays in the library.
Check out the really cute basket of crayons! This food-themed strategy for putting out crayons for patron is on all the work tables in the library. The library is also available for backup for the school’s technology needs. They have a laptop cart with 30 laptops, and iPad cart with 30 devices, and another cart of 30 Chromebooks. Each classroom works on a 2:1 ratio of tech tools – Chromebooks and iPads – to student. Cathy and Gayle are available to work with everyone to be sure the tech is effective in teaching and learning. And there was a copy of a Magic Tree House series book – one of my favorites!
This worktable, filled with laptops and ready for action, is in the center of the library. It is a great display of the way that libraries are flexibly providing information in all kinds of formats that work for their communities! You can see the books filling the library, the laptops, the iPads, the displays – it all goes toward providing some great service!
Here you can see a nearly 360 degree view of the library, and the student-created artwork displayed for all to admire! The open concept space in this library means the patrons can see all the different areas they might want to explore; and the staff and teachers can easily keep an eye on everyone. That openness in the displays also gives it a welcoming atmosphere, encouraging even reluctant library users to enjoy the resources here. They have been doing some informal peer-to-peer book recommendations, and encouraging kids to recommend favorite books to each other.
As with any school library, the cataloging system is set up to help steer kids toward books they can work with, and that they will enjoy. Kids can start here in this section: the Everybody shelf! And there is some good Information Literacy information available right there – just another strategy used to ensure a good experience in the library! It would be very interesting to learn what strategies everyone out there is using in their schools for cataloging books to get the best connection to the community.
Everyone likes the new books, and Avon has them prominently displayed at a height that is easily accessible for kid-sized patrons! Again, this is just another detail that helps encourage patrons to use your facilities and to really take advantage of the materials you are providing. That kind of thing adds up, and when you see all these different usability features, you know the library is working to provide the best possible customer service.
Here we can see one of the newly created maker space kits the library is beginning to assemble! With the help of library volunteers, they are working on some strategies and materials to bring increased STEAM programming and skills to their patrons – and clearly they are prepared for everyone to have a great time learning things!
And here we have the coolest features of the library: Cathy and Gayle!! Not only are they working to provide a great space, resources, and materials of all sorts to their community of users; but they are participating in their school celebration of kindness! Every Wednesday, people all across the school wear their Be Kind and Unity Day shirts, as an easy way to remind everyone of the value of these principles. These ring especially true in a library setting, where we are all about sharing, accessibility, and ensuring everyone has access to information they need in a way that works for them. Seeing these dedicated library people not only talking about kindness and sharing, but actively demonstrating it in the library was inspiring!
This series of visits to our member libraries, and the chance to see what everyone is doing, has been great! Looking back at our website stats, it appears that you agree, and people are looking at the work their colleagues are doing in pretty big numbers. We want to keep providing you with more opportunities to connect with each other, to talk about the things you are doing, and to have a chance to share ideas and questions. If you want a communication strategy that CMLE Headquarters can facilitate, just let us know!