Library “facelift” creates relaxing lounge atmosphere

By Ivaylo Pasev

 

He leaned forward from the couch, placing the final Lego pieces on the robot he was building. It was a sight seldom seen in the Lane library last year, but was more appropriate for the scene of the newly renovated library (or maybe lounge is the more accurate description).

The library’s long tables and Dell computers are gone and replaced by couches, armchairs, round tables, bar height tables, and Mac computers (because of the low maintenance they require). What was in past years, a library reminiscent of an old college library, now looks more like a lounge or a café.

“The library was overdue for a facelift,’’ said Damir Ara, the assistant principal who coordinated the library renovations.

Ara researched many modern college libraries before ordering the equipment and deciding to “modernize’’ the library. With studying and testing methods changing, Ara wants to prepare for these changes. Next year the ACT test is going to be replaced with the PARCC test which will be taken on computers and Lane has to be ready to accommodate for its large student body. Also, today’s student life involves a lot of technology. Students have moved away from reading books and toward using their devices. A lot of typing is involved and Ara, aware of that, wants to provide comfortable conditions for Lane students.

Now 23 tables (two of which bar height), four couches, three arm chairs, and 36 Mac computers (for which teacher training will be provided) fill the open space of the library. The couches and armchairs are located on the west side along with two tables, and the rest of the tables are on the east side.

“Students are welcome to use whatever best fits them. You don’t have to use the computer if there is no seating in the other area, you can still sit at the tables,’’ Ara said.

This year, in addition to getting a Twitter (@LaneTechLibrary) for updates on computer availability and new book additions as well as other opportunities, the Lane library has also extended its hours from 7am to 6pm to accommodate students who need a place to work before and after school.

Even with all of these changes and renovations (financed by school funds and the Alumni Association), the library still preserves its older look and upholds one of the many Lane treasures. The world famous WPA (Works Progress Administration) woodcuts by Peterpaul Ott are still displayed and are visited by guests of Lane. By trying to create a more relaxed environment in the Library, these renovations have not destroyed the spirit and history of Lane. The older museum-like qualities of the library now are mixed with modern elements.

Lane students come to the library to complete assignments, finish projects, do research, and now kick back on a couch and read a book, take a nap, or even build a Lego robot.

Soon, students will finally be able to spend time on the library balcony for more private or group work. The railing on the balcony will be raised or replaced altogether and six tables seating six people each as well as more lounge furniture will be added.

The room next to the library that used to be full of history and biographical books is now being transformed into a media/multipurpose room. Theater seating, as well as a 120 inch screen, will only be some of the features of this technologically advanced room. Guest speaker presentations, and video conferences with college professors from across the world will be a primary use for this room once finished. Ara also mentioned the opportunity Biology and Anatomy classes may have, to see open heart surgery live and ask the doctors questions via this new technology. The goal for completion of the room is before winter break.

With the addition of new classes (Sound Engineering, Aquaponics, etc.) and technology around Lane during the past two years, the library’s turn has come to be modernized and to provide Lane students with the most up-to-date technology to assist them with their studies.