With an ever-evolving learning environment, even new schools need upgrades.
While Brazosport ISD works to build numerous replacement campuses, they also spent the summer months remodeling four school libraries, projects included in the $175 million bond issue voters approved in 2014.
“Libraries have kind of taken on new personalities,” Brazosport ISD Lead Media Specialist Michelle Griffith said. “It’s not just about checking out books.”
The libraries of Clute Intermediate, Lake Jackson Intermediate, Freeport Intermediate and Brazosport High School were remodeled, Griffith said. They are now libraries and collaborative media centers, she said.
Each upgrade cost about $250,000, totaling $1 million for the four schools, according to the 2014 bond flier.
The renovation brought flexible furniture that can be used for collaboration between students, as well as lounge areas for reading, Griffith said. They all have a Makerspace stations with dry-erase surfaces that can be flipped up to share with classmates, she said.
At Freeport Intermediate, Librarian Susan Williams said students have already told her they are excited to come to the library after school and do math homework on the tables. It is a good thing any time students are excited to do math homework, Williams said.
The seventh-graders are excited to check out new “grown-up books” and the eighth-graders are very impressed with the library’s upgrade since last year, she said.
The remake also came with cafe height tables, where Williams plans to have Lego lunches, she said.
Brazosport High School’s library has the same features plus a wall Lego board, 3D printers, magnetic “juice bars” that allow charging for all kinds of electronics, a green screen to make school ID cards and use for video editing and enough room to have multiple classes doing different lessons at the same time.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Librarian Shannon Pierce said. “It’s very functional.”
Pierce has spent 11 years as a librarian for the district, four of those at Brazosport High School, she said, and sees the need for updated facilities.
“It’s still about books … but it’s also about apps, electronics and everything else,” Pierce said.
Libraries offer a safe space for high school students during their free time and lunch, she said. More than 100 students have packed into the library during lunch periods, Pierce said.
The students know the new furniture and technology belongs to them and treat it with respect, Pierce said.
“The kids love it, that’s what really matters,” she said.
The different styles and heights of furniture and areas of the libraries mean students gravitate to where they feel comfortable, Griffith said.
“Usage has gone up because there is more available space,” she said.
The library remains the heart of the school, Griffith said, and educators refer to it as the “room of requirement.”
“It becomes what you need it to be,” she said.