Visiting the Sauk Rapids – Rice Middle School Library!

It is always so fun to visit our members – and when they have cool libraries it’s even more fun! Visiting this school was fun, and there were all kinds of neat services and materials available for their community members. Thanks to Cindy Heideman, the Technology Integration Media specialist in this library for showing me around!

Of course, we are a profession dedicated to sharing information; and all of that means we use all kinds of formats to accomplish that. We are most known for our paper books – and that is a lovely format to use in any library! These books are not only nicely arranged, but also set off by the inspirational artwork above the shelves. Additionally, on the shelf closer to us in this photo, you can see puzzles and games – exactly the kind of material a library serving young people should be sharing!

Turning the other way, you see the rest of the library and all the great resources. I just love this locker system for assorted projects and materials! Making materials not only easily accessible, but displayed in an attractive way, really increases their use. The whole point to a library is to share material with our community members; and you can see the nice job they are doing with that here!

Here is a closer view, so you can see how nicely things are arranged – though, of course when your library is really hopping with patrons, “tidy” is not a concern – getting this stuff off the shelf and into people’s hands is the goal! But you can see how good arrangement makes these projects look like fun to try – good marketing in action!

Making books easier to find is key in any library. These signs are located all throughout the fiction material, providing some good finding aids for people to identify the books they want! For the vast majority of our patrons, Dewey or LC cataloging systems make no sense. So even providing this kind of tool helps people to see the organizational system of information, as well as helping them to find the very best books to take home!

See how easy it is to find books?? Great!!







I am SUCH a fan of comfortable seating in a library!! Remember our fundamental goal: to serve our community, and connect them with information. Making them comfortable means encouraging them to come back, to use our stuff, and to enjoy themselves while they do. It’s great for everyone!!!

When I first bought library furniture, we all had to sit in each potential chair for an hour to see how comfy they were. This was a great test as we could easily knock off the list the chairs that made your legs hurt, or put your butt to sleep, or that were just too stiff and hard to move. I really love the thinking that goes into these kinds of seating arrangements to increase usability in the library!!

This is totally unofficial – but I’m such a fan of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, that it just makes me happy every time I see them in a library! I think you always remember the books you loved as a kid; and bring back good memories. While adulthood has proven pretty disappointing – I’m not solving mysteries all the time like Nancy Drew did; at least I get to go to libraries and read fun books! So, I’m still calling this a total win.


Libraries are about books, but we are about so much more than that! Legos are increasingly popular in all kinds of libraries. They give patrons a chance to play, to explore, and to work on their creativity. And look at this room, with that great Lego table – so fun!!

This table is just adorable!! And it’s a one of a kind – it was made by Cindy and her husband!! Not only is this just too cute, and so encouraging for kids to read – this kind of original work is so impressive! (I want one for my living room!!)




As information resource centers, libraries are about all types of information; you can see that in this library with their different kinds of technology resources. Of course, teaching good information literacy skills, and online safety, are key skills for effective use of digital resources – while students are in school and afterward. This kind of poster was all over the library, providing just the kind of information people need!

    Check out this very nice 3d printer! It is available for teachers to reserve, or for students to use individually. There are so many great things to create out there, and so many ways to learn about turning digital information into physical objects, that this is a great resource!!

    Robots! Here we are living in the future – and it includes robots! These adorable little robots can be programmed by the students to move around and do the fun things that little robots can do!! Coding is an extremely important information literacy skill all people will need to know; giving kids the chance to hone their skills with robots is a great way to ensure they learn things they need to succeed! (I wanted to stop and play with the robots for a while too…darn that pesky “job” that prevented me from hanging around all day and trying out their good resources!)

This room is just behind the library – and it’s so cool! This is a TV studio for students to use to make weekly broadcasts! I’ve seen this in a few public libraries, but not in a school library, and I was so excited! Some of our other member libraries do have video studios with green screens – and that’s such a great way to help kids learn digital literacy. Adding in a specific “job” component, by delivering weekly school news, really brings home the value to all the students.

Have we been to your library yet?? We are wrapping up a series of visits, and writing them up; and will be looking for more members to come visit soon! Send us an email at TODAY and let us know a couple of days that will work for you. (We would so love it if you save us the time and effort of tracking you down for this. Thank you in advance!!)