There was heavy lifting going on inside the library last week.
It seemed like a good idea — move the little-used reference section to the back of the library and bring the high-interest young adult and juvenile books up to the front.
The plan was to shift the heavy wooden shelves that give the library a crowded, traditional look and open up floor space for more relaxed and open seating arrangements.
The challenge was moving those huge shelves and multi-volume collections of all kinds of books, Great Scientists of the World, Day by Day Chronology of the World Wars, dozens of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys titles — you know, the books of America!
The library staff used to be women in their 20s, filled with endless energy.
Not so much anymore.
So, with the help of our patient and strong MISD maintenance gentlemen, the shelves were moved, the books shifted and we now have what is newly popular in the library world: a designated area called The Learning Commons.
With 16,000 square feet of space to work with, the Learning Commons is the part of the library with sufficient chairs and couches to accommodate individuals, small groups or a classroom for group instruction.
Free wireless Internet connections are available to use with library computers or personal devices such laptops, iPads, and smart phones.
The Learning Commons is a flexible space surrounded by shelves of interesting reading material.
Whether a library visitor brings a personal electronic device to use, or wishes to borrow one from the library, no visitor is a technology “have-not.”
In a free public library, the digital divide between those who carry the latest smart phone everywhere and those who just want to use the printed yellow pages should disappear.
Information should be available to all.
Years ago, I remember watching a pregnant teen approach the front desk at a library (not in Midlothian!) and be denied use of the phone.
Not because she was pregnant!
Not because she didn’t have money or a library card, but because that circulation phone was reserved for library business.
I’ll never forget how much that frustrated me, seeing a young person denied information in a place where information is free and available to everyone.
That is a library’s business.
Susie Casstevens serves as the librarian for the AH Meadows Public and High School Library. Contact Susie at 972-775-3417 ext 1061 or visit the web at library.midlothian-isd.net