School Business Affairs June 2019 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | JUNE 2019 35 FACILITIES grouped into numerous configura- tions for teams of various sizes. Wheels on chairs, bookshelves, video monitors, and whiteboards can help adapt the space to the specific needs of users. 4. Generate collaboration. The days of the school library being the quiet zone for reading and studying are gone, but the need remains for spaces that allow concentration and reduce distractions. Provide separate rooms and zones for small groups. Be sure the space allows for members of a group to interact with one another and to document their discoveries, either digitally or on whiteboards. 5. Encourage relaxation. Provid- ing comfortable space for downtime is also a useful role for the library/ media center. Beanbags and other soft seating are inviting for users of all ages. Booths can be used for personal study, small-group collabo- ration, or a space to visit. Students appreciate a library that supports both rigor and rejuvenation. 6. Become a marketer. Consider the variety of audiences using the library/media center and whether the space “sells” learning and devel- opment to them. Is it attractive, convenient, and exciting? Change things up based on the audience, even if that means altering the space throughout the day. For example, if a language arts class is coming to engage with an author on Skype, accommodate that group’s purpose with appropriate monitor displays and books. 7. Power up the technology. Make it easy for users to stay pow- ered up. Plenty of receptacles and USB charging stations are a much- appreciated feature. Make sure the network Wi-Fi is robust and has high bandwidth. 8. Be community friendly. All communities can benefit from a publicly responsive school library/ media center; however, it is espe- cially important for rural and low- income urban areas. Through access to computers, low-fee or no-fee meeting space, and GED or technol- ogy courses, the school library/media center can be a beacon of hope for the neighborhood. If the building configuration allows, find a way to provide a separate, secure entrance for after- hours use so the entire school need not be open. 9. Fuel creativity. Library spaces can be adapted to support media labs, video and music production studios, application-focused com- puter labs for website design or photo manipulation, videoconferenc- ing, and more. If the school needs makerspace (a collaborative work space used for creating, learning, exploring, and sharing), the library/media center of your future might be the perfect environment for supporting STEM programs. 10. Provide options for space. Seating arrangements and furniture should accommodate different needs and preferences. If a lot of space is available, stadium seating can be an attractive option for additional classroom space and a venue for special occasions. Additionally, it can provide a unique venue for continu- ing education programs for teach- ers. Variety is the name of the game when it comes to the use of space. 11. Use natural lighting. When- ever possible, include natural lighting in the design of the new or remodeled library/media center. Win- dows that control both glare and thermal discomfort can offer signifi- cant value for everyone’s mental and physical well-being. 12. Shift the mindset . . . and then share it. Introduce the transformed library/media center to the school community with an orientation at the beginning of the year for those new to the campus (i.e., freshmen and new students). If the district is opening the library/media cen- ter to the community, offer open houses and engage groups such as the Parent-Teacher Organization, booster clubs, continuing education providers, Rotarians, Kiwanians, and other civic organizations that will spread the word. Library Transformations Libraries of old were about transac- tions; libraries of today are about transformation. Schools don’t neces- sarily need to reinvent their library/ media center space; but changing out finish materials, providing a fresh coat of paint, gaining new whimsical furnishings, carving out a few col- laboration zones, and forming a new attitude can go a long way toward having a more effective impact on students and communities! Todd Bushmaker is a project architect at Hoffman Planning, Design & Construc- tion Inc., headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin. Email: tbushmaker@hoffman. net What started as a dark, uninspiring, old-school institutional room was transformed into a bright, lively, multifocal, multipurpose space that promotes student, staff, and community engagement.