Redesigning The School Library


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Do you ever wonder why we are drawn to places like Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, or our local bookstore? They all have special little touches that make them feel comfortable and inviting. Comfortable seats call out, "sit here", and books, with covers facing forward beckon you to open the cover and peruse inside. There's usually artwork.

At a coffee house close to our home, the work of local artists adorns the walls. Small cards below each piece display title and price, so if you've connected to the piece and have to have it, you can take it along with your latte.

Encountering these inviting spaces throughout our lives inspire us to bring this attention to detail into our schools. These photos subtly depict the influence the coffee shops and bookstores have had on our lives. This middle school librarian and principal asked us to help them make the space more inviting so students would linger longer, read more, and find books of their interest. In these photos we are looking at one aspect of the environment; the shelves.



Book shelves are beautiful, just by the nature of what they house. Here is what we did.

  • Removed all purchased posters and replaced with student artwork that we framed
  • Removed some books on each shelf giving us room to stand books face out, inviting students to look.
  • Added green plants to soften the space.
  • Added book easels, again so books would be facing out.
  • Added a small bookshelf, inviting the eye to gently step down and see books and plants. 

Small changes are often what create the feeling of, "I really want to stay here."



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