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  • Megann Horstead

District U46 mulls high school library remodeling

School District U46 is looking to remodel libraries at Streamwood and Elgin high schools to make them more flexible for everything from independent study to small groups to large presentations.

Jackie Johnson, coordinator of secondary literacy and libraries, said the goal of the more than $1 million upgrade is to facilitate the schools' curriculum in math, social studies, fine arts and science. HAPP Builders has submitted the lowest bid for the work.

Elgin High School's library was built in 1968. Streamwood High School's library dates to 1978. Neither has been renovated.

"With looking at just those two libraries alone, with looking at the fact that they've not been updated, they're not meeting the demands of today's learning, today's careers, today's college expectations of what a collaborative learning space to support all of our curriculum should look like," Johnson said. "We do know that our students and teachers need a space not only to read but to create, explore, collaborate and practice in a larger space outside of just a classroom."

The remodeling proposals are tied to the technology master plan. Johnson explained they serve as a model for what technology should look like and how it should support the district's priorities and strategic plan. Learning is different in the Digital Age, she said.

"They need not only books but they need access to information, access to technology," she said. The remodeled libraries allow access to databases and breakout rooms to make use of the material.

Board member Phil Costello questioned what the payoff of the remodeling would be.

"I was interested in when you had brought up the metrics and traffic especially," he said. "Now, we're going invest a million dollars in this project. Are we going to see more kids enjoying and getting the outcomes you've lineated here?"

Dr. Suzanne Johnson, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, explained the district continually reviews library usage and student engagement, but metrics are not necessarily helpful in that.

"It's really about creating that access and having the doors open and teaching teachers and teaching students how you can use these tools to support your growth," she said.


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