Setting Up a New Elementary School Library (Part 3)

It’s hard to believe that the unpacking and arrangement of our new school library began only one week ago!  As of today, every box has been unpacked thanks to many hours of work from me and some dedicated volunteers.  This included working on 2 furlough days and the weekend.  There’s still a lot to do, but it’s nice to know that everything has been unpacked!

When people walk by, I often hear, it looks like you are all ready.  I’m glad that the library looks like a library as our kids enter the building tomorrow, but there are many things left to do like:

  • Setup our iMac computers for video editing
  • Setup up our morning broadcast equipment and prepare the schedule/contracts of the new crew
  • Get power and data installed to the circulation island and have technology image the new circulation computers
  • Install a wall case which includes 2 white boards and a touchscreen for ebooks
  • Finish putting together 2 computer tables
  • Put together our lego robotics area
  • Update 30 ipads and make sure they are working for the new year.  Install apps that have already been requested
  • Re-label and re-catalog over 200 books that were pulled from fiction in order to move to everybody, graphic novels, and series sections
  • Distribute 250+ netbooks to classroom teachers after shuffling them among the carts to make grades 3-5 one to one
  • Test out media center equipment and how it interacts with our new projectors before releasing it to teachers to check out
  • Create some type of signage to help students in locating the books they need.  I may get students involved with this piece soon!
  • Create orientation videos that students may use to make orientation more individualized
  • Finish setting up the teacher book room which includes guided reading books and professional books.  Also setup a self check-out/check-in area in this room
  • And several more things……

Today I want to highlight some of our areas of the library that I haven’t talked about yet.  One is circulation.  Throughout the planning of our library, I repeatedly said that I did not want a circulation desk.  We don’t have a library paraprofessional at the moment, and even if we did, we don’t sit behind a desk all day.  Instead, I wanted a self check-in area and a self check-out area with places for students to easily store books that were checked-in.  We went through many rounds of discussions and drawings, but this is what we came up with:  a circulation island.

Circulation island instead of a clunky circulation desk

Circulation island instead of a clunky circulation desk

As students enter the library, they will turn right, check in their books at the check-in computer, and store their books on one of two rolling carts stored underneath the circulation island.  If both of these carts fill up, a third rolling cart can be pulled out to replace one of the filled cart.  This third cart also stores within the island.  Once students find their books, they will stop by the opposite side of the island to check-out their books as they leave.  On the wall right behind the island, there will be casework with multiple opportunities for displaying student work and books.  There will also be a touch screen where students can browse the ebooks in our collection.  I hope that this becomes a user-friendly area for our students.


Some shelves have stools within the curves where students can sit and read or use the shelf as a counter/work space

Some shelves have stools within the curves where students can sit and read or use the shelf as a counter/work space

Another item I want to feature in our library is the multiple ways that students can sit and interact with the space.  The curves of the shelves provide opportunities to put stools, bean bags, or soft curved seating.  With stools, students can sit and read or they can face the shelf and use it as an additional workspace.  As I display books on the tops of shelves, I’ll try to leave spaces open so that students can take advantage of these workspaces without having to move all the books.

At our iMac video editing stations, students can sit on the rectangular soft seating, wobble around on a Hokki stool, or pull up a chair that can face forward or backward.  It will be interesting to see which seating gets used more than the other.

iMac video editing stations

iMac video editing stations


There are many more features that I look forward to sharing in the coming days and weeks, especially as students start to use them.


11 thoughts on “Setting Up a New Elementary School Library (Part 3)

  1. Sandy hendricks says:

    Hi… your furniture…..where did u get it?

    • plemmonsa says:

      We are the very first school to get it! It was designed specifically for us and will be available soon. I can add that info to the blog when I have it.

      • Elizabeth Goode says:

        I’m going through a similar re-design in my library and would also love to know where this furniture was from.

      • plemmonsa says:

        Most of the furniture came from VS America. Some was custom-made. I had a lot of input on the design of the space and what I would like the furniture to do, but I didn’t pick out the final furniture. It was chosen for us based on requests.

  2. What a fantastic design. You have given so much thought to this – I’m sure the students will be as excited to use this as I am excited to read how well it works for you.

    • plemmonsa says:

      It has been a very long process! I’m exhausted, but I think the students are going to love this space.

  3. Joyce says:

    Your library is beautiful! I love how open it looks and the way you organized it. How many square feet do you have?

    • plemmonsa says:

      I’m not really sure 😦 It’s much larger than our last library and it changed so many times that I don’t think I was even told the final number. It’s big enough that I can have multiple things going on at one time without disturbing one another.

  4. Love the furniture and the circulation island concept. How was it created? We are undergoing a whole school renovation and redesigning the media center . I’d love to know where you got your furnishings when you have the info! Thanks so much!

  5. […] Plemmons, A. (Photographer). (2013, August 5). View from the back of the library [digital image]. Retrieved from […]

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