New library thrills FHS students and staff

After months of renovation, Fairmont High School officially unveiled its new Library Media Center in early February, and students and staff are delighted by the results.

“I think it’s really awesome,” said senior Amanda Turner. “The modern feel makes kids want to come to the library.”

Senior Allie Dyer agrees with Turner. “I really like how open it is and I love the seating arrangements,” she said.

Those are exactly the kind of reactions project manager Debbie LeValley was hoping for when the library and FIC closed for renovations last fall. “We want to create a welcoming community where students want to be,” LeValley, director of technology for the district, said back in October.

LeValley said the total project cost was around $400,000, but the Kettering Health Network contributed $200,000.

The library was long overdue for a facelift. LeValley noted it hadn’t been updated since it was built, although a dozen computers had been added over the years. The old library was showing its age, with outdated books, tired shelves, poor lighting, and worn and dingy-looking carpet and paint. It didn’t exactly beckon visitors.

The new Library Media Center features new furniture, shelves, lights, carpet and paint, but the changes go far beyond appearances. The committee that planned the renovation also wanted to make sure that today’s students had access to the technology and resources they need to do research and fulfill assignments.

Additional technology and meeting spaces

From new computers to Smart Boards and even a flat-panel TV, the library has clearly entered the 21st century. That’s a big deal since today’s teens grew up with technology and they expect to be able to use technology at school.

Before the renovation, the library only had 12 computers and now it boasts a total of 65. Those come in the form of both PCs and laptops. Some of the computers are relatively stationary in the library, while others reside on carts. One cart features 15 laptops and a second cart contains 24 laptops. Each cart also contains a printer, which makes it easier to print papers on the go. “Now people who don’t have computers or printers at their house can use ours,” said Library Media Specialist Jillian Kelsey.

In addition to the computers, the library now also features three Smart Boards, which are located in two of the three new conference rooms. This arrangement allows teachers to take classes into a conference room, where they can use the Smart Board and/or laptops for lessons or to work on projects.

Groups of all sorts can also use the rooms to hold meetings. “The new conference rooms are a great add-on for USB because it will make our meetings more isolated,” said senior Holly Carey.

Another cool feature in the conference rooms are sensors that turn on the lights when someone enters the room and turns them off when they leave.

Finally, the new library features a 50-inch flat-panel TV on the east wall. “It will scroll CNN and the ‘Good Morning Fairmont’ Friday announcements,” said Kelsey.

More resources, longer hours

In addition to the new look and boost in technology, the committee planning the renovations wanted to be sure the library would be an excellent place for students and staff to find resources and do research.

Kelsey said 1,400 new books were added to the FHS library. “The new books are awesome,” said Turner. “There are so many different books here, from Kate Bryan to Steven King.”    

If students can’t find the books they want or research material they need, the library staff wants to know about it. “We plan to continue adding to the library collection of books, materials, and online resources,” LeValley said.

Now that the resources are there, the staff wants to make sure students can take advantage of it. Beginning March 1, the library will be open from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. “This will help students with their projects and homework if they can’t do research at home,” said senior Liz Shine.

Firebirds are happy campers

Kettering Superintendent Dr. James Schoenlein thinks the new Library Media Center will attract people. “Before the renovation not many people came in, but now that it’s nice, I believe it will bring students to the library,” he said.

Members of Fairmont’s a capella group Eleventh Hour liked the new digs so much, they decided to take their new group pictures in the library. “The library is really well designed and it makes Fairmont look better altogether,” said senior Kendall Young, an Eleventh Hour member.

Many other seniors love the library, so much so that they’re upset that renovations came so late for them. “I’m so bummed that I only have four months left to enjoy this beautiful library,” said senior Liz Shine.

Senior Allie Angerer agrees. “Since I’m leaving soon, I want to do my homework and spend a lot of time in the library so I can enjoy it,” said Angerer.

Retired Art Photo teacher Thom Meyer also praised the new library. “It’s fantastic. I wish they had this years ago,” said Meyer, who added that the center has a cyber café feeling. “It’s nice to have Internet access and multiple work spaces. Everything was blended very well and they did a marvelous job on the renovation.”

Kelsey is pleased with the results and happy to see Fairmont students and staff so enthused about the new facility.

“The new library is beautiful and there is a lot of new technology,” said Kelsey. “I think people will love it.”