Cassville mulls high school library remodel

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Proposals in 
preliminary stages, ideas presented to school board

The Cassville School District is considering remodeling the Cassville High School library, as preliminary project ideas have been presented to the Cassville Board of Education.

Proposals call for new desks, which have wheels and may be moved to create multi-desk collaboration stations, hoping to give the library a college-like atmosphere to help prepare students for their futures. The proposals would do away with the traditional computer lab, instead opting for a collaboration area where students may use the devices provided to them through the 1:1 program. Some computers will still be available for student use, but rooms with 25 desktops and runways of cords are going by the wayside. The proposed remodeling would also move the librarian's desk to give a better view of the entire library and collaboration spaces.

"I have spent the last three years 'redesigning' the library to make it more student-friendly," said Donna Lawson, the high school library media specialist.

She has purchased couches and love seats at thrift shops, window hangings and decorative items on clearance and rearranged the fiction section according to genre to make the books easier to find. She has also created a good selection of nonfiction eBooks for the students and professional eBooks for the teachers.

"I opened a smoothie/coffee bar that the students love," Lawson said. "This year, we are offering fiction eBooks to the students through OverDrive. The students are appreciative of the changes."

Lawson said she has extended the library hours to give the students more access to the library, its resources and her help.

"We would like to have comfortable couches and chairs that are not yard sale finds, more electrical outlets and charging stations and better lighting," she said.

Working with Paragon Architecture of Springfield, the vision for the library is to make it more technology-friendly, especially with the 1:1 initiative beginning to take shape throughout the district.

The high school was built in 1995, said Superintendent Richard Asbill.

School libraries are moving toward a "Virtual Learning Commons" format, Lawson said. Digital sources like eBooks and online databases are provided to enable 24/7 access.

"Today's library media centers have to provide more than just print sources and research computers for student and faculty use," she said.

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