Rock Canyon High School library steps into the times
Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) staff and students noticed a few changes in the Library Media Center (LMC) when school began last month. Modern improvements, interactive events, games and a cafe were added to make the old library a modern and welcoming space.
The LMC staff decided last year to make some updates. Jennifer Chiu, library media specialist, filled out applications and wrote proposals for three grants. Amy Neira, assistant librarian, and Jason Parker, teacher librarian, met to make some plans.
“We wanted to create a user-friendly space for all students and staff,” Neira explained. Parker and Neira started in the LMC in the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, while Chiu joined the team in February of 2022.
And they received good news.
Funds were awarded from two Rock Canyon Community Alliance grants, given last fall and spring, and an annual S.T.E.A.M. grant from The Foundation for Douglas County Schools. These monies, combined with money raised from fundraisers, allowed the LMC to purchase new materials. Fundraiser money also covered the cost of new LMC programs and events for students.
Some of the new “toys” are geared more for staff, like creating a “makerspace” with a Cricut die cut machine and a Cricut Joy, both of which can be checked out for classroom use. A button-making machine is available for staff and student use.
Neira is hopeful students will appreciate “all the interactive displays and activities that are being planned for them,” she added. “Students not only can get tech support and all the normal library stuff (like books), and studying and research help, but can also have fun and know there is a place for them to interact with each other.” Games and puzzles have been added to the LMC catalog and are available for checkout.
Other events and activities currently offered at the LMC include a monthly “guess how many in the jar” contest, which has been popular with students. The late-start Friday schedule, new in the 2023-24 school year, provides additional opportunities for LMC staff to organize activities. Weekly offerings include “crafts, cooking, games, trivia and more,” Neira explained.
The main attraction though, is the LMC Café. “It started selling hot chocolate last year and students were surveyed on what else they would like, so now we also have snacks and lemonade in the warmer months. Each item is only $1 and this is a main fundraiser for us,” Neira said.
Café money helps pay for events like Comic Con, held last spring and planned again for this year. The money also helps cover the cost of the interactive events planned by LMC staff.
Excited about the current and upcoming LMC events, Neira spoke for her team when she said, “We are excited to continue to support the RCHS staff and students with traditional library needs and expanding our makerspace and activities. We are always asking for ideas and trying new things to keep the library a place where everyone wants to be.”
By Celeste McNeil; photo courtesy of Amy Neira