Fairmont’s library surpasses the norm and continues to evolve

Students of Fairmont use the library throughout the school day to enhance their education and to take advantage of all of the resources provided. The library is also open before and after school.

Throughout high school, students will sign up for different classes, have different teachers, maybe even experience new facilities or a new principal or counselor, but one thing that remains constant is the heart of the school … the library. 

A library is defined as the following: a building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for people to read, borrow, or refer to.

However, the Fairmont library has evolved into more than just books to reference and a librarian at a desk. One difference that contradicts the ‘norm’ of a library setting is the acceptance of talking. The library is comprised of several tables, chairs, desks, couches and stools to accommodate students and their learning needs and styles.

Fairmont’s Librarian, Jessica Dennisson, wants to make sure that there is much cooperation among students. She encourages communication and welcomes it in the library.

“I recognize that students are naturally going to talk to each other when they walk in here,” said Dennisson.

Another exciting feature to the library is that there is also a media center. The media center or the Fairmont Information Center (FIC) is located in the back of the library and is managed by Jonnelle Carroll.  The media center offers many resources and opportunities to learn and explore that most students are unaware of. Technology has enhanced this area to support the 21st-century skills and learning styles of today’s students. 

Even though the FIC and the library seem to be two separate entities, a partnership and ongoing collaboration has been developed. 

For instance, Dennison and Carroll are working with the Interactive Media students on a 360 video challenge where students are learning to capture 360 video. As students learn to shoot 360 video, these skills can be used with the football team to create training videos as well as develop new opportunities within the classroom to extend learning utilizing 21st century skills.

This 360 project could allow for football plays to be recorded and players to be placed back in each play through the use of a VR headset. Players would then be able to watch the play from a 360 angle and determine what actions they could have taken during the play to achieve the intended outcome. Extending into the use of virtual reality, students will have opportunities to accomplish extended  learning tasks such as dissections, lab experiences, cooking and learning a language.

Carroll and Dennison are working with augmented and virtual reality or AR/VR. This will bring new advantages to the students at Fairmont. Offering blended learning opportunities will help to increase knowledge and skill sets that most students in other schools will not be exposed to such as the ability to create VR and AR technology and increasing learning outcomes through the use of technology.

Dennison is hoping that in a matter of three years, the Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality lab will be up and running smoothly.

“We’re taking baby steps with it,” she said. “We think that it is something that is going to add experiences for out students and provide them with a different set of skills.”

In addition, Dennisson wants to make sure that students are aware of how many resources are in the library. If a student is trying to find a book but is unable to locate it in Fairmont’s library, students can ask a librarian to check if the Dayton Metro Library has a copy and then they can ask for it to be shipped to the school. The Dayton Metro Library is in partnership with Fairmont so that students and staff have these bonus resources available. 

The resources offered by the library often times go unnoticed and are unappreciated. In today’s world, technology and hand-held devices have made libraries obsolete; furthermore, pushing some schools into getting rid of their library and library employees altogether. 

Dennisson and Carroll have attended multiple conferences and professional development meetings to try and enhance Fairmont’s library for Firebird students. 

One thing that Dennison is working to accomplish is changing the environment. She wants students to feel more safe and comfortable in the library.  

Even though there are still several big projects ahead for this space, Dennisson’s number one priority is the safety of the students in her environment. 
“My job is to make sure that everyone who is here is safe and is provided with positive opportunities,” Dennisson said.


Check out the FHS Library website for even more information: http://www.ketteringschools.org/1/Content2/80