KURRI KURRI High School has removed almost all of the non-fiction books from its library as part of a “long overdue” $80,000 refurbishment designed to make the space more student-friendly.
Principal Tracey Breese said the decision to either donate the books or transfer the titles into staff rooms was one of the ways it had transformed the library into a learning centre.
“We spent nearly two months working out what needed to move - it was not a cull,” Ms Breese said. “It was a very systematic ‘Let’s look at what we’ve got shelf by shelf and triage where they need to go’. We had non-fiction books that had not been borrowed in 15 years, books about space from 1973 and others about technology that had been massively surpassed. If an Encyclopedia Britannica is more than two years old it’s out of date, so we access it online.”
Ms Breese said the school has removed all the tall shelving and moved books to hip-high shelves along the library perimeter. Computers have been moved from on clusters of desks to along one wall. Carpet has been replaced. The result is an open and flexible learning space that has both furniture and a smartboard on wheels and can accommodate student groups of up to 150.
“We used to have little alcoves with books to the ceiling, but in those alcove spaces now we have lounges and tv screens where students can plug in and work in groups.”
Ms Breese said students are voting with their feet.
The library has extended its opening hours every morning and on three afternoons a week.
“It’s definitely bringing students back in, the kids want to be here so much that the seniors are asking to have it to themselves one day a week,” she said.
The school is also considering training interested students to offer a help desk at lunchtime in the library, where they will help students with problems including installing software on their devices.
The school has also received $5 million through the Secondary School Renewal Project, which improves the physical condition of schools, their amenities and how they are presented.