Alison Connelly, Librarian
and Marti Smallidge, Library Intern
Stoneham High School
How a weeding project together with repurposed technology created a new and more functional meeting and learning space and increased the utilization of the library facility.
When teaching, you never want to see students squinting at the TV you’re using for instruction. How are students supposed to know what icon to click to save that database article to their Drive if they can’t even see the icon? I was faced with this during my practicum at the Stoneham High School library while working with school librarian, Alison Connelly. The instructional TV was just slightly too small to be fully functional and we realized that if we weeded the nonfiction section - a job that needed doing, regardless – we could remove a whole wall of shelving. What did we weed that made such an impact?
We looked closely at books to determine whether they were damaged, outdated, or irrelevant to the current curriculum. On the other hand, we saved books that circulated regularly or would be useful for National History Day, which is a major event at the high school. By weeding books and removing the shelving, we were able to hang two white boards for teachers and students to use in class, as well as a large projector screen that makes instruction much easier. The best part? It cost us zero dollars. Zero! Yes, this may just be luck on our part, but here’s how it happened: facilities removed the shelves; there were white boards in storage; a projector screen was unused and left over from a previous event; and an extra projector was refurbished by the technology department for our use.
Aside from its classroom use, in the weeks since the projector’s installation, the Gay-Straight Alliance club has already held a movie night, and the principal used the projector for a faculty meeting where everyone could see the agenda for the first time ever. The soundbar that had been attached to the TV is now connected to the computer/projector set-up, and students are enjoying listening to relaxing music while a peaceful video plays. Yes, the weeding project took weeks and lots of agonizing over what should stay and what should go, but the result has energized the library and encouraged additional use by faculty and students alike.