Touring an Updated High School Library

As we creep closer to summer, I reflect on this school year and how I missed going into different buildings, either in my school district or surrounding areas. I love visiting other libraries to gather ideas–big and small–that I can implement in my space. Prior to COVID, I visited an elementary school library and noticed the openness of the shelves from the most recent weeding project. In that library, I found the books inviting me to browse. It inspired me to analyze my library collection for weeding and provide more open space on each shelf. I also visited a high school library that had tables on wheels that allowed for different configurations for student collaboration. The tables were moved as needed–with ease! I came back to my school library inspired to provide space that encouraged easy collaboration.  I worked with my administrator to find tables that encouraged various table configurations.

Since we are not able to visit libraries this year, I thought I would take this opportunity to give you a short tour of my high school library and point out some of the changes we made this year. I hope this tour via video provides a few fun ideas or reinforces changes you made in your library.

In the video below, I highlight a few things that we have added or changed including our high-top tables, shelving colors, mobile shelves, and nonfiction arrangement.

High-top Tables: The Woods II class took our older computer tables and made them into high-top tables. We added whiteboard contact paper as well. The high-top tables provide another space for students to work and gather. It is one of the first places students land when visiting the space.

Shelving Colors: To brighten the space, we added colorful paper to the back of the shelves.  Coordinated with each genre color, we used butcher paper to go along the back of the shelf.

Mobile Shelves: Through district bond funding, we received mobile shelves. The shelves are a game-changer as we can reconfigure the library in minutes for an event or move a display shelf to different parts of the library to be noticed by students.

Nonfiction Arrangement: Finding ways to get students to read our nonfiction books has been a struggle. We arranged the shelves to encourage browsing with forward-facing books, unique ways to separate topics, and pull forward titles for reluctant readers.

In addition, I am adding a few photos of our favorite changes in the library. Click on the image to view the Instagram post with details.

Genre Signs

Genre Signs – New Format with Vinyl Printing: Created in Illustrator and printed from our district’s printing services, the font and color stand out.

3D Printing Attention Items

3D Printed Shelf Attention Grabbers Available on Thingiverse: We will almost do anything to draw attention to good books.  This is a way to bring attention to popular series or books we love as students browse.

Nonfiction arrangement

New Arrangement of the Nonfiction Shelves: As mentioned, finding ways to bring readers over to the nonfiction area can be tough.  Facing books out and unusual configurations helps draw in a potential reader.

Genre Shelf Background

Adding Genre Color Paper to the Back of Shelving: Students love the added color to the library shelves.  With previous dark wood, the colors brighten the space.  We have received a lot of positive comments from students and teachers.

What fun and exciting changes have you made in your library space? Share below or provide a link to your school library’s social media account. I would love to see your ideas!

Author: Becca Munson

Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.

Categories: Blog Topics, Professional Development

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1 reply

  1. How has your contact paper held up?

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