By Laura Grisham
SOUTHAVEN – When students at Sacred Heart School returned from the Christmas holidays, they were delighted to see their library had received a grand facelift. The tired carpet and bland colors were replaced with new flooring, vibrant hues, as well as new bookshelves, tables and seating.
The inspiration for the improvements came from the evolution of how people today consume information. The role of libraries and librarians has changed. Today’s libraries are not intended only for silent reading and studying. Students need a space to collaborate and problem solve together.
“Since I became the librarian at Sacred Heart, I noticed areas of the library that needed upgrades and improvements. I started with small, inexpensive projects, such as changing the way the books were displayed on the shelves and weeding our collection of materials. Sister Margaret Sue (Booker) gave me some ideas based on how she displayed books in her classroom,” said librarian Rae Davis.
The furniture that was purchased is more mobile. Now tables and chairs can be rearranged based on class activities. The space is now more accommodating for both younger and older students. Books and resources are much easier for students to locate — arranged by grade level and interests.
Davis said that she and school principal Bridget Martin had many conversations about how the space could be improved, but funding had always been a stumbling block. “Furniture and flooring are very expensive,” said Rae.
That all changed when the school hosted it’s first annual Race For Education Day last spring. Students raised money by finding individuals and businesses to sponsor them to jog or walk in a race that took place during the school day. Students participated by grade level and raced for about an hour. Volunteers helped students keep track of their laps. A local DJ played music and held games for the students; and parents grilled hamburgers for lunch. The wildly successful event raised more than $30,000 for the school.
Although much of the renovation has been completed, there are a few minor details left to tackle. Davis says that she plans to purchase some new shelving units and add some color to the old shelves.
“I am so appreciative of the support I’ve received from our PTO and from Mrs. Martin. The library should be the heart of the school, and these improvements not only will help me serve our students better, but they will help students better utilize the library as well,” Davis beamed.
(Laura Grisham is the Public Relations director for Sacred Heart Southern Missions)
By Laura Grisham