School library redo goes high-tech
Posted by : September 7, 2013| On :
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–Mabank Intermediate School is leading local schools in moving to 21st century learning with a new state-of-the-art library.
The new interior began its extreme makeover in April and made its opening debut to teachers and staff Aug. 19.
“The new library includes brighter colors, bistro-style tables, a stage with a drop-down screen and an Internet bar with several phone jacks and electrical outlets to accommodate devices,” Mabank Intermediate School principal James Pate said.
The up-to-date facility also comes with 400 eBooks, 10 iPads, several lava lamps, three flat screen televisions, a lounging area for reading and classroom activities, and a beverage bar.
“We want our students’ learning to be more aligned with the technology of today. Most school libraries are still traditional and have not changed over the years to accommodate the new devices,” Pate added.
“We are encouraging college awareness and feeding that mindset with the ability to check out eBooks 24/7,” Pate said.
In January of this year, Pate began the Bring Your Own Device pilot program where kids were allowed to bring iPads, cell phones and eReaders to school.
With more than 75 percent of students bringing Internet devices to school, Pate said giving kids permission to use these devices to aid learning has led to fewer disciplinary problems regarding these devices.
“The new library has a calming, peaceful effect,” Mabank Intermediate School counselor Tanya Chapman said.
“We wanted a more welcoming environment, not the out-dated ‘hush-hush’ feel of other libraries,” she added.
The school staff agree part of their responsibility to students is to teach them how to use new technology appropriately and the new ‘Internet cafe’ allows them to do that more easily.
No comments were made on the out-of-pocket expense to the school but Pate did say ‘it was a sizable investment.’
He also said the school would like to acquire close to 1,000 new eBooks a year, hopefully seeing a sizable collection within the next five years.
The library still displays several hundred hardback books which are placed against the walls around the library.
“We have not received any negative comments so far,” Mabank Intermediate assistant principal Brent Fisher said.
“It draws people in. Kids are now asking when do they get to go to the library instead of when they get to go to recess or PE.”
“Teachers are making special trips to show their students around the library and reserve classroom time in the lounge,” he added.