Rhoda Antoine and CCES students in the school library working on Pink Shirt Pledges last month.

Rhoda Antoine and CCES students in the school library working on Pink Shirt Pledges last month.

School libraries get user friendly

Gold Trail schools given surplus funds to revision their libraries.

A small infusion of Districts funds is putting the focus back on school libraries, long ignored as emerging technology questions their importance.

The question of what to do with our libraries has been discussed at the board of education level for some time, says Gold Trail Superintendent Teresa Downs.

Book budgets have declined and library staff have been moved to other areas as students accessed more and more study and reading material online.

This year, however, trustees allocated about $90,000 in surplus funds from last year’s budget  to school libraries, dividing it among the schools based on student population.

“It’s allowing the schools to revision their libraries,” said Downs.

There are no restrictions or guidelines on how the money is to use used, but many are “taking that quiet room and reshaping it,” she said. “Libraries are becoming warm, welcoming and functional.

Some of the schools are purchasing furniture that create areas where students can work collaboratively, such as comfortable chairs and portable tables arranged in common areas, and outlets for students to plug in their own electronic devices.

Downs said they’re going for that “Chapters (bookstore) feel.”

“Books won’t go away,” she said, because some children learn better with books, some with computers and schools are striving to accommodate the needs of all of their students.

The allocated funds didn’t amount to very much money, said Downs, but the schools are making it go far.