Library Transformation Brings 1,500 a Week
Alliance High’s Media Center has been transformed from a maze of book shelves to a collaborative space with a variety of seating, white boards and digital resources.
But while the library has changed its look, the function is still the same: Giving students everything they need to learn.
“The Media Center is a place where students and teachers can go to collaborate on projects and assignments,” said Marilyn Jackson, Library Resource Technician. “Collaboration makes students more responsible for their learning.”
She and Principal Shawn Jackson, as well as other members of the AHS faculty, visited other high schools and universities to see how other educators were creating collaborative spaces. They tried to find out how the systems could create a new and beneficial learning space.
The redesign has helped with library attendance as well. Before the redesign, fewer than 100 students used the library each week. Now, about 1,500 students a week use the space, sometimes more than 400 in a day.
Most of the remodelling - including painting the walls in school colors - occurred last year. This year, two new spaces were added: A white boardroom and a quiet room that students can use for reading or studying.
“The whiteboard room is used mostly for peer tutoring and intervention,” Mrs. Jackson said. “Students can write on the white boards while learning, then use them to teach other students.”
The redesign lets students learn in a space that is comfortable. They also have access to a collection of digital resources, including e-books, databases and much more.
Students can use the online resources of INFOhio, World Book and Science Online, among others. Mrs. Jackson is the INFOhio coach for the district.
Many of the book shelves have disappeared or have been moved to create more open space. Mrs. Jackson has gotten rid of most of the reference collection such as encyclopedias, almanacs and atlases, many of which were outdated.
“But for all the changes, the library still functions as a place where students can find a good book,” Mrs. Jackson said. “I still value reading and the teachers do, too.”
“We will continue to buy current teen fiction,” she added. “We will always have a selection that the students can check out on a daily basis.”
Digital magazines have replaced the periodicals that weren’t being used. Students now have 16 digital magazines to choose from that relate to content areas taught at the high school. For instance, the Auto Tech program requested access to Motor Trend magazine.
“My hope is that students will use the magazines in class,” Mrs. Jackson said.
“We are not forgetting the literacy part,” she said. “We are trying to reach kids in a different way to improve their literacy skills.”