New furniture, a better flow and more function are infusing a breath of fresh air into the library at Collinsville High School.
Teachers can conduct classes in a new computer lab. Students will now lounge on new purple chairs surrounding the Kahoks statute. Visitors with physical disabilities can use a new workstation with a desktop that is adjustable. Groups can arrange the new smaller tables more conveniently. And the library’s staff will be able to work with ease from the circulation desk, which has been moved to the middle of the room.
I’ve been here for 25 years and this is awesome, said Assistant Librarian Nancy Gerstenecker from her perch at the desk.
The Collinsville school board earmarked $600,000 last year to upgrade the libraries at the high school, middle school and Dorris Intermediate School. Dorris and Collinsville Middle School received technology upgrades with the funding and the high school also received a much needed layout redesign.
The flow of the space is so much better, said Librarian Tracey Schmidt. It feels more open and the space is more usable. We love it because we can accommodate more students.
Schmidt said the change that will have the biggest impact on the students is the new computer lab. Before the renovations, the library had 28 personal computers. Now there are 30 computers in the lab and 24 computers in the general library.
When students come here for assignments or to do research, the computer lab frees up the (other) computers for the kids to use, Schmidt said.
Schmidt said the library will soon be getting 10 iPads for students to use in the library. She said the library also received an increase in its book budget and will be purchasing fiction novels in traditional book form as well as e-books and research databases.
School board member Gary Kusmierczak spearheaded providing the funding for the renovations.
I’m pleased that the students are getting the library that they deserve and need, Kusmierczak said. I’m a firm believer in the Mark Twain saying that he ‘never let schooling interfere with his education.’ And I think that by having a library with computer access and more volumes to deal with, that this will appeal to the curiosity of students.
The renovations also appeal to the sense of Kahok pride, Schmidt said. The new library now has an area set aside for a coffee station and a bistro-style seating to accommodate the Kahok Cafe, a student-run morning coffeehouse.
The kids love it, Schmidt said. They have a sense of pride when they come in.