Renovation coming to Senior School Library

Students in the left half of the library


In a joint project funded by the school’s Parent’s Association and other donors, the senior school library will be undergoing dramatic changes in the following months. Come November, the library will be closed and will open again after Winter break.


The lower half of the library will be raised, converting two floors into one, while the computer stalls will be removed and replaced with an open learning area. The current offices in the library will have its walls removed and replaced, and a new media room will be created near the entrance of the library.


The planning for renovations began early, nearly four years ago, when Marc Crompton, the head of Library Services, switched into his current position from the Music Department. “I’ve been looking for ways to improve this since I moved in here.” Crompton said, “The planning has basically been going on for years.”


“Serious planning didn’t start until after the May Fair,” he continued, “that was the first time we had concrete funds to go ahead with the project.” Since then, Crompton has had a lot of feedback in dialogues with the students, library staff, and teachers on what to improve on and what to change.


One major problem with the current library’s design is that it contains two separate spaces, separated by roughly three steps, described as “heavily truncated stairs” by students. Crompton remarks that students either work in one half of the library or the other, and that the difference in floor height often acts as an unobserved barrier between the halves. “By making the entire library the same height, all of our resources become much more accessible. We can easily move tables and chairs to suit the different needs of different classes, and there won’t be an invisible boundary anymore.” Crompton said.


The current furniture will be replaced by moveable chairs and tables, much like those in the new social studies wing, including wheeled chairs, flip tables, and round tables with power bars. To make the entire library even more accessible, the metal conduit pipes powering the current desktop computers will be removed, and the computers in the library replaced by re-purposed laptops from other parts of the school, reducing login time by switching to the Mac operating system.


Crompton says that he’s hoping the construction will begin early in November, and that it will be finished before Christmas. He noted that most of the materials and renovations will actually be pre-fabricated and built off-site, saving valuable time and money. “The only onsite construction would be the renovating of the office walls and other minor things.” He said.


During this time, the library and its resources will be closed. Book lending will continue however, and the library staff is already working on a system that would allow them to access the books once or twice a day. The books will stay in the library during the renovation, and some of the bookshelves will be replaced by newer ones.


Several things will stay the same, however. The corner of the library that leads to a staircase into the mezzanine will still be the primary teaching spot for classes booked in the library, and the ceiling and lights will remain the same. Other ideas considered for inclusion into the renovation included the addition of a small stage, meant for poetry readings and small group music. Crompton notes that while it seemed like a good idea it eventually didn’t seem like an efficient use for space at this point.


After the renovation, Crompton hopes that students will change their idea of what this area of the school is. “We call this place a library, and although a library is a place of learning, when people think library they think of shelves and shelves of books.” Crompton said. “With different furnishing, and the flexibility and accessibility of the furnishing, I hope that they think about it more as a social learning space. People can come in and reconfigure it for their needs.”


Mr. Crompton is “really excited” about the upcoming renovation, and hopes that the rest of the community looks forward to it as well.

You can follow Mr. Crompton on Twitter here.