Elementary Students Help Design School's Relocated Library

Article excerpt

When da Vinci Academy staff decided to move and remake the library, they didn't look past the front doors for ideas.

Fourth- and fifth-grade students were part of the process from start to finish at the elementary school in Academy School District 20. Volunteers are busy this summer finishing the vision that blossomed as they shift books, set up furniture and decorate.

Students measured the old library and shelving, planned how best to use the new space and worked out decorating schemes, including colors, furniture and other accents.

"It was really fun," said incoming fifth-grader Luke Wieland, 10. "It was cool to see how everything turned out."

The da Vinci staff started thinking early this year about moving the library from a classroom space to a larger, open loft area in the center of the school.

The loft area was a little-used teacher lounge. The library is now adjacent to a large collection of computer stations, pulling together book research with online tools, she said.

"The library is in the center - the hub - of the school," Vickie Morrissey, technology coordinator.

The involvement of students was aimed at strengthening the skills of students in a talented and gifted math class, said Principal Cindy Fesgen.

But it wasn't presented to the students as a math project, said Stacy Guerin, intermediate talented and gifted teacher. The task was to create a new library that everyone in the school would enjoy, she said.

The 17 kids were given some guidelines, such as including a check- out station, computer space, instructional area and plenty of shelving for a growing book collection. They worked in teams of six, and there was a lot of brainstorming during the weeks of the project.

"We tried to give them a lot of freedom," Guerin said. …