High school media center to emphasize 'Barnes & Noble' feel

by Bob Gaetjens | Editor Published:

Streetsboro -- The floor plan for the new high school will likely feature a library or media center that's positioned to invite patrons to use it.

According to the preliminary design, the media center would be located at the main entrance to the building rather than tucked in a corner, a change Library Media Specialist Jill Selak welcomes.

"I just like that it's going to be open, and I won't be hidden in a corner," she said. "It's right there when you walk into the building. It's not in an area where nobody's going to be."

Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh said the new media center will have a "Barnes & Noble" feel with comfortable sitting areas, technology and, of course, bookshelves.

Director of Curriculum Aireane Curtis also described a coffee shop or book store feel district leaders are trying to replicate in the new media center.

"We can have groups of kids sitting together in a group talking about a book they've been reading in English class," she said. "I can remember in my own high school no one wanted to go to the library because you couldn't say a word. You couldn't speak."

The new media centers should be centers of research and collaboration, "not a place that's absolutely silent," she said.

Melanie Friedman, a principal with FMD Architects which is designing the school facilities project, said the media center would be geared toward 21st century learning.

"It will be more flexible to help support more project-based learning and more collaboration," she said.

Selak said one of the biggest needs is space. When students need to conduct group work, it's very difficult to spread out in the current libraries at the high school and middle school.

One feature that might be incorporated is furniture on wheels, she said, which small groups could move around in ways that are conducive to small group work.

Friedman said the new media center at the high school will include some similarities to the existing one.

"I think the components that are in the current libraries are going to be fairly similar; it just may be in different proportions," she said.

She said the high school media center will be designed over the next several months, but it will be more of a "collaboration hub" than it is now.

Curtis said the media center would be a center for faculty, as well. She said the teachers' work rooms would be connected to it, and there will be conference rooms where teachers or groups of students can meet.

"We're going to work really closely with Jill [Selak] in making sure that when we roll this out, it's the best it can be so it can meet the needs of everybody," she said.

Selak said she would like to have an area with a fixed projector and screen or whiteboard.

She also said thought should be given to the design of book shelves at different levels.

At the elementary levels, she said shelves shouldn't be very tall, and at the high school level they shouldn't extend all the way to the floor "because students won't bend down to pick something out." The elementary students can only reach to a certain height.

The fiction and non-fiction sections should be separated, she added. She also said she'd have to consider whether to organize the library according to the Dewey Decimal System or simply by genre as a book store would.

"I have kids come up and ask me where the mystery section is," she said.

One thing that will never change is people's love for books, she believes.

"Some say books are going to go away, but it's not going to happen," she said. "Kids like to read. Kids are actually check out books all the time."

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9440

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