Today was our second day of unpacking boxes into our new school library. After being away at a meeting yesterday, I spent some time walking the space and thinking back through Monday’s decisions. For the most part, I was still happy with what was decided. I flipped one shelf around in the fiction section and it really opened up the flow into the library better. Some new rolling tables had arrived, so I worked on putting those into the 2nd projection area where I think students will most likely use devices while paired with demonstration on the projection screen. I decided that the Lego robotics table will move from its current position near the front of the library into the back corner. The wall I chose has no outlets. This allows the wall with outlets to be used for computer tables.
My first volunteer, Camilla Bracewell, arrived and quickly got to work unpacking fiction onto the shelIves. While she worked, I began unpacking equipment into the equipment room. The equipment room, workroom, and office are rooms that I have to do myself because I have to figure out the best place to put each thing. In the equipment room, I put our ereaders and digital cameras out on the charging shelves. There aren’t as many outlets as I would like, but for the first time I can actually lay out all of this equipment and easily plug it in to charge. All of the cords run down through the shelves to the outlets. I put the most frequently used things out in clear sight and things that are less used went in closets.
It didn’t take long until our first problem of the day. The fiction books didn’t fit on the shelves. That statement has multiple meanings. Some books were too tall for the shelf so they had to be turned sideways. Other books were pulled to put in other sections of the library like graphic novel and everybody. The worst part though was that all of the shelves were full and there were still 4 boxes to unpack. First I tried to think of how to get another shelf, but then I started thinking about what could be pulled from the fiction and put somewhere else in the library. We are still missing 3 big display cases that will have multiple functions. One function is holding books, but without the cases in place it’s hard to decide what to put on them. I decided to go around and pull some of the most popular series of books from the fiction shelf so that they could go on this display. The next step would be to shuffle all of the books down the shelves to fill empty spaces. I know that the books will fit if I do this, but i decided to delay this part of setup until I know more about the cases that are coming.
Next, I began unpacking all of the supplies. I love the rolling cart of drawers that I have. It tucks underneath the storage cabinets in the workroom but easily rolls out for students to use. Each thing that I put in this cart fit in with my thinking about maker spaces in the library. Each thing had to be something that students could use: paper, pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, craft scissors, tissue paper, popsicle sticks, streamers, buttons, etc. Other supplies went into drawers that will stay in the workroom. In one storage closet, I made one side supplies and decorations and the other side instructional resources.
Throughout the day, the son of my former paraprofessional began arranging all of the rooms in our teacher book room with class sets of books and guided reading books. This is a huge amount of boxes and took a long time just to get the boxes in order. We haven’t even started the process of unpacking those.
By the end of the day, a dad and daughter came and unpacked the biographies. They fit them onto 3 carts, but there was shelf space left over. I was curious if all the books could fit onto 2 carts to free up one cart. We shuffled these around and very tightly fit biographies onto 2 carts. I don’t like that it’s so packed, and I’m not sure if I will keep it like this.
Jennifer McDowell and her daughters (one Barrow student and one alumni) came and unpacked the nonfiction section up to the 700s. For now, they packed the shelves tightly, but I hope we have enough space to go back through and free up some space in each section. This was a big task for them because the hand truck had been borrowed by other teachers. They had to carry each heavy box out of the hallway and across the library to unpack it.
In the midst of all of this, a whiteboard was installed. Three different workers came to ask me where various computer equipment should be installed. We realized that one projector was not wired into the network. I questioned the height of the circulation island for our younger students. Multiple teachers came to ask questions about technology, upcoming projects, and their own shelving in their rooms. I submitted a purchase order, and who knows what else I did and don’t remember. This is exhausting, but each time someone walks in they already talk about how inviting it is. With each unpacked box and piece of furniture, we move one step closer to a new school year. It’s truly exciting.