It is always so fun to visit our members! One of the great things about being part of a multitype system is the opportunity to see the work being done across all kinds of libraries – a lot of similarities, but everyone has some distinctions.
This visit was to the Pine Meadows Elementary School in Sartell. You can see the welcoming atmosphere right away in the cute colors and signage around the library.
One of the first distinctive things you notice when visiting an elementary school library, as opposed to any other CMLE member, is that they focus on usability for their community members with furniture! Everything is designed for smaller sized people, as usability is key for any kind of library.
In this library, the furniture and shelving is not only size-appropriate for the audience they are trying to serve, but cute and colorful! (I love the way these round chairs look – enticing to kids!)
Colorful items are a key component in any cheerful library, especially in one serving younger patrons. These cute and colorful drawers are separated for different age groups, filled with activities to do after the students have finished their work. Puzzles, games, and things to color are part of the offerings – all easily sorted and accessible.
Shelves filled with nice-looking books make their contents enticing! The books are carefully labeled, to show patrons the different qualities of the books they may want to read. Books left on the shelves are not doing patrons any good, so this kind of marketing is great to see! (See that collection of blue Hardy Boys books? My brother and I read all of them, and seeing them in any library always makes me happy!)
Installing seating right at the point of material availability is a great idea! Give patrons the chance to be so entranced by the books they are finding, that they sink into a chair to look through them. Displaying popular or interesting books at eye level is another great way to be sure they are easily found by patrons.
Again, thinking about usability is key for patrons of any age. The descriptions of the Dewey numbers make a system that is incomprehensible to our patrons more understandable. I love to see these kinds of signs! If patrons understand the groupings of our materials, and know where to find things, they are more likely to take materials home with them – which is our goal! (Libraries do not collect items for ourselves – they are for our patrons to use.)
In addition to the cute (and useful!) furniture in this library, they have a regular display spotlighting authors! The books were flying off the shelves here – always great to see. Displaying materials draws the interest of patrons this way is always valuable for patrons – and the more they use materials, the better everyone does!
And of course, libraries are so much more than just books now! We are information centers, with all kinds of information literacy and resources for our patrons to use as they learn! Makerspaces of all sorts are increasingly popular in libraries, and this one is no exception. In this section of the makerspace you can see the crayons neatly sorted, and all kinds of great material to draw, color, and work with. Again, color is always eye-catching, and the really cute signs on the walls help draw your attention to the fun you can have here, learning about graphics!
In a small room attached to the main library room there are other treasures to find! On the left you can see more makerspace material of all sorts – a great array of projects to try. And on the right you can see a green screen and some of the material used in video creation! This kind of information literacy building is great to see – kids need to know how to both use and create digital materials to be fully literate people in today’s world. More technology skills learned at a young age just help to put them farther down the road toward success later!
I love this feature that I’m seeing in more libraries: a self-check system. In this library, patrons can return books themselves. This frees up staff time to focus on providing more in-person service to patrons; and it gives patrons a better understanding of one aspect of library operations, and another opportunity to practice their technology skills! When they go to a public library, they are likely to have a chance to self-check books; so this practice will be valuable.
And fundamentally libraries are here to provide instruction and assistance for their communities! We are information professionals, and here to help our communities access materials of all types. So this dedicated instructional location is not only really cute – but so important in providing quality service!
If you want to reach out and make connections, Amy is in her first year in this library – and has some great energy and ideas to share! Contact her here: Amy Moe, Instructional Technology Specialist, PME-Sartell Schools email@example.com.
Have we been to your library yet? We are visiting all 300+ CMLE members to see the great things everyone is doing – and we want to see you! Send us an email TODAY, and give us three different days/times that work for you. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) Let’s get this visit underway, and share your information with the rest of the community!