South Orangetown Central School District

After months of excited anticipation, William O. Schaefer Elementary School students and staff celebrated the opening of the school’s redesigned library on Tuesday. Students visiting for the first time are eager to explore, “oohing” and “aahing” over colorful, cushiony seats, quiet reading nooks and prominent displays of their favorite books.

“We are thrilled to welcome students into our brand-new library!” said Principal Sheila Beglin. “This redesign has enabled us to transform the space into a truly versatile library media center that supports innovative instruction and is comfortable and engaging for students. And our students have been part of the process throughout as (Library Media Specialist) Ms. Eyer worked with our classroom teachers to incorporate aspects of the redesign into real world, problem-based learning units, such as persuasive writing.”

The expanded library space can now accommodate multiple classes at once and is spacious enough to host larger staff professional development workshops. New features include a book drop, a variety of flexible seating, two smart boards and rolling bookshelves. “I tried to make it more cafe-like, with displays of popular books to draw students in,” explained Ms. Eyer, who noted that library programming continued uninterrupted in an extra classroom repurposed as a temporary ‘pop-up library’ during the six-month construction project–and created unexpected learning opportunities. “Although we circulated books for the entire year, we had a more limited collection in the pop-up. As a result, students were exposed to titles and authors they may not have ordinarily gravitated toward, so it was a win-win.”

“As we near completion of the District’s long-range capital master plan, we are moving forward with renovating learning spaces and addressing critical system needs,” said Executive Director of Finance and Management Alicia Koster. “Since summer is always a particularly hectic period for construction and maintenance, we were able to take advantage of time during the school year to get this work done through some creative and efficient scheduling, thanks to collaboration with building leaders and our outstanding facilities staff. It’s wonderful to see our students and staff enjoying the new library!”

Photos on Facebook.

Students in new WOS library with teachers