With renovations to the high school’s library media center slated for discussion at Monday night’s meeting of the Union school board, library staff are getting excited about what the future may look like.
The renovations to the library media center are among a list of improvements proposed in Union R-XI’s long-term facilities plan.
“We want it to be very inviting and welcoming. We want to utilize the space better than how we are currently,” instructional technology instructor Amy Hall said. “You can work, you can relax, you can collaborate.”
Hall, who works alongside fellow instructional technology instructor Taylor Tholen, said the two have worked this year to create a “coffee shop” atmosphere in the library media center. She said she hopes the redesign builds on those atmospheric changes.
Changes like adding couches and comfortable seats, hosting club events and making the library feel like a comfortable environment has helped lure students in, Hall said. She added that the library is the busiest it’s been in years.
Assistant Principal Josh Hall said he would like to see the renovations to the library help make the center the “hub” of the high school. While the current library works, an upgrade might encourage students to spend more time there and treat it as a common place to work on assignments and have discussions, he said.
“Currently, it isn’t very conducive to kids coming in and working in collaborative groups. It was a good space to store books and classes could come in and use the space and the technology, but we don’t need that anymore,” Josh Hall said. “The trend with a media center is to create compartmentilized areas that are comfortable, homey and designed for collaborative work and conversation.”
He noted that stationary technology in the library is still needed, but in smaller quantity. Since every high school student is assigned a Chromebook to work with throughout the school year, the need for desks with desktops has decreased.
Tholen and Amy Hall, both agreed that the library should be at the forefront of technology, especially since Union is a 1:1 school, where each student has a device.
HTK President Mark Franzen and Architect Matt Patterson will present three proposals for the library media center at the school board meeting.
Franzen said the proposals are aimed at making the center more flexible and provide the space that will create the atmosphere the staff is looking for. Traditional libraries are becoming less frequent at high schools, and active media centers are becoming a more practical answer to students’ needs, he noted.
“They’re active spots where students do peer-to-peer learning,” Franzen said. “We’re hoping it becomes an active heart, or hub, of the school.”
HTK will present proposals for the high school library media center at 6 p.m. Monday night in the high school’s board room.