Low Cost / High Impact Upgrades 

Here are some ideas you can implement with a low budget.

  • Paint – we cannot adequately stress how impactful it is to give your walls a fresh coat of paint in a modern color! We saw immediate mood shifts.
  • Furniture – rethink your space and get rid of old/dangerous/unused furniture.  Moving furniture around can inspire new use of your space.
  • DIY – create some portable soundbooths with these simple instructions. Even if you don’t have a microphone, students can use their phones to record.
  • Get creative with your displays.  We just went to an awesome presentation by Scottsdale librarians who gave us a lesson in display design that rocked our world.
  • Weed those books. We asked the kids to go through our fiction section and pull any titles that would make them never want to pick up another book. After this massive weeding, our circulation increased up by 38%!

Unplug with a Game!

Once kids wanted to be in the libraries during lunch and after school, we realized they wanted games. With donations from staff and family members, we now provide that sevice. Kids take a break from their phones and other devices to play and talk with one another. It is bringing our kids together. As an added bonus, the games often inspire them to read more (chess strategy and history, dungeons and dragons manuals, etc.) also, the students trust us to know what they like, and come to us for suggestions and advice much more readily. Some kids even borrow our games over the weekend to play with family.

Our Best and Worst Choices of Furniture

The Best!

Hokki Stools

Mobile All-Terrain Markerboards – KI

Mobile All Terrain Teacher Desk – KI

KI tables – Enlite or Pirouette

Achella Lounge Furniture – Arcadia

Nemo Trellis – Izzy

Circulation Desk, Shelving, Etc. (custom made) – Fleetwood

iPad Kiosks

The Worst!

Isle Charging Stations- KI (overpriced, breaks quickly, clunky- we have had nothing but problems with these).

Falcon Cafe Tables with power (these started breaking immediately, and it was not worth the extra expense of digging trenches to plug them in).







Apps for Multimedia Creation

(list in progress, will update soon)


Garage Band (try a jam session with multiple players on the same wifi)



Groovemaker 2


Mac Apps:

Garage Band

Logic Pro X (this has a pretty steep learning curve, but it helps the students to take the process seriously and they have motivation to learn it).

Pixelmator (for our Wacom Tablet station)

Anime Studio

Food in the Library, going from yes to no – and why we now have a “no food” policy

So, when I first started planning our High School library, I had every intention of designing in a “cafe” area and allowing food in that one area.  This is a very common addition to modern libraries, in an attempt to be more like Barnes and Noble. I was all for it.

So, what happened?

Exactly 4 days after getting the new carpet installed (our phase one), someone dripped chamoy (red, drippy, sticky, gooey food juice – usually drizzled over hot cheetos and takis), all along the carpet as they walked between the door and the drinking fountain.  12 carpet tiles were stained and I spent an hour scrubbing it out.  I started picturing that same substance drizzled over our brand new sofas and my mind was changed.  image image