Riverside Secondary School was founded in 1996, meaning the school is 22 years old, and so is the library. The library renovation is something that the whole community of Riverside has been highly anticipating and it will be great to see once it is finished. Riverside Secondary Librarian Ms. Susan Henderson, principal Mr. Jon Bruneau, former principal Mr. Anthony Ciolfitto, and Socials Studies teacher Mr. Brian Chan all played big roles in the conception and progression of the new library through a five year long process.
The library is a space for people to hang out, study, read, and of course, print out last minute assignments. However, the role of the library is starting to change in schools. As a source for knowledge, predominantly in physical form, such as a book or DVD, students of the 21 century utilize physical sources of information less and less due to technology. In fact, new libraries such as this one include more technology and new features such as the Makerspace,
which includes 3D printers equipped with coding possibilities, as well as a much more open concept geared towards students with vast learning styles. Makerspaces provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering and ‘tinkering.’ This will allow students of all learning styles to explore new ideas and concepts. All the information in the world that one needs is at the click of a button. The traditional use of a library is becoming less and less, so a new library with new avenues of learning is a great way to bring in more people.
“I think it’s very attractive,” said Bruneau. “The door is moving to a more visible location, closer to the front of the school. The couches are going back in, so some of the existing ways that people use the space will remain the same.” Chan played a large role in the layout of the new library as well. “I envisioned a space that facilitated different types of ideation,” said Chan. There needed to be a reflective space which would be more for the individual, a challenge space for group ideation, and social space for those random conversations that may lead to ideas. The reflective space was created with the counters by the windows, the two meeting rooms along with the design room would serve as the challenge spaces, and the rest of the library would be the social space.”
Bruneau and Chan think the library will remain as busy and quite possibly busier than it already is. Henderson says that the library averages about 700-800 patrons per week according to the gate counter that tracks foot traffic. Considering the school houses roughly 1400-1500 students and 100 staff members alone, the number of visitors the library receives is a substantial amount.
After all construction is completed, Henderson expects to see a change in the way people use the library. “We’re super busy, but what we would like is not just to be busy with people getting stuff, but for more people to come and stay. And also to have more classes get involved in prototyping and ideating and using the space more creatively,” said Henderson. Costing over $200,000 saved up for over five years, along with funding from the district, the library is a great investment for the school. There is no specific date for when it will be finished; however, Henderson and Bruneau speculate that it will be completed entirely before the end of summer, with a grand opening occurring during September of 2019!