What we know for certain:  the shared library for Romig Middle School and West High School will receive much-needed seismic safety renovations during the 2017-2018 school year.  We’ve received our marching orders, and need to be out by end of the 2017 school year.

What we need to decide:  how does a shared school library, with only one librarian, still effectively serve two schools while we are relocated for construction?

Factors to consider:

  • Indoor access between the two campuses will be lost next year, and our winter climate is not feasible for pushing carts of books through snow.
  • Both schools operate on different bell schedules, and students are not allowed to meander between the two campuses.
  • Middle schoolers only account for 31% of our population, but they account for 48% of our book checkout.
  • We average over 100 students on hall passes daily, primarily from high school for computer usage.

I came to the conclusion that the only way to effectively attempt to serve both schools was to split the collection and have a space at both.   (How to staff both locations is a blog post for another day.  Right now I’m focused on the move.) If possible, the high school space needs to have a class set of computers.

So here comes the hard part:  Where to go?  Sadly, our state is in the midst of budget cuts, and both schools are losing teachers.

For the middle school, this meant an oversized double classroom was available.  Half of the space was occupied three periods per day by a special education teacher, but my middle school principal helped her relocate so I could start moving right away.

It has been more of a challenge on the high school side.  The section of the building that is being renovated includes not only the library, but also five high school classrooms, two computer labs, and the counseling center.  Where will we all go?  Clearly space is at a premium.  The administration decided to move the library into an extra large classroom that will house half of our print collection in addition to a class set of computers.  Unfortunately, this room is where the drama students currently build sets for their incredible productions.  I hate being the reason teachers lose their personal space.  So far this has been the worst part of this entire process.

Now that the decision has been made it’s time to measure how much shelving we can fit in our temporary locations, and to look into logistics of wiring a bare classroom for a class set of computers.  Our shelves are large and connected with earthquake safety bars at the top. Right now getting those shelves transferred is a big concern of mine.  I can do much of this job myself, but moving these shelves will be a chore!