A visit to Kimball High School library reveals a library dedicated to helping student patrons, and thinking about the future of libraries! Library Media Specialist Lori Miller showed me around her library; and then we had a chance to sit down and chat with some other technology staffers to talk about libraries and the future. That is one of the really fun parts about these visits – talking with colleagues about libraries is just great! And CMLE is here to help our members to be successful; so we are always available to talk about library history, present, and future.
Of course libraries are more than “just” books (as if that would be bad!); but our foundation is always books – the original technology for reading! Never needs charging or refreshing; and having a paper copy means you never worry about losing your license to the content. So the books are important. The bookshelves are neatly arranged, have cool posters on the end-caps to draw in prospective readers (it worked on me!), and the display of books makes them easily accessible and ready to grab – always a benefit when considering circulation stats!
The Circ Desk is located between the two doors giving entry into the library from the main part of the school. Some cheerful music played quietly, adding to a good atmosphere in the library! It’s always nice to see libraries making an effort to make their spaces welcoming and to invite people into them, and this one does that!
And this is the most inviting feature I’ve seen in a school library: a fireplace!! No actual flames means no cleanup, or disaster potential; so there is just an opportunity for patrons to come in, gather here, relax around the fire, tell stories during a long winter, and then to check out tons of books! (I don’t actually know that it works exactly like that in practice; but it would be neat.) Every library has a unique feature, or an interesting “thing” that can draw people’s attention. Organizing around that would make it just one more reason for patrons to come visit you!
Again, this library is showing the value of reaching out to their community members, and to encourage them to come inside. Focusing on one group of patrons like this is a way to help them see the value in your services. And for people who like to read books with exciting adventures, things blowing up, and other traditionally “guy” topics it can be something of a challenge to identify them in many collections. Emphasizing a part of the collection with special appeal is always a good Reader’s Advisory strategy!
The student art displayed hanging from the ceiling here not only adds a cool touch of student input into the library’s decor, but also mirrors a collection of projects in this same type on display in the hallway outside the library. It is always so nice to have student created material in the library; it can give them a sense of ownership over their work, and can also help them to be interested in coming to the library to see their material displayed. Students are always going to be more interested in each other than in adults; so student art displays can serve as a draw to all kinds of patrons who want to come look at the things their colleagues have produced. There are other student art projects in this library – a really nice way to show their interest in their patrons!
No library is complete without a computer lab! This library has two larger labs, each with about 30 computers; and two smaller labs for more focused work projects. Classes meet here, and work on projects in the larger labs. There are also several computers available inside the library, for students to have time to do more individualized work. This flexibility in the technology offered is always a good thing; schools are rapidly changing in the kinds of tech they provide and that their students need. We are information professionals, and the tools we use will always change; but at the heart of our work is service to our communities.
Thank you so much to everyone who has already invited us to visit; and for the rest of you: we look forward to seeing all of your great things in 2017! We will also be setting up group visits for members to gather together and visit each other’s libraries, so everyone can have a chance to see things your colleagues across the system are doing. CMLE is here to help you, and to help provide communication to and between members; so never hesitate to check in with us if we can help you!