Carihi Mirror: Renovation proposal in the works for Carihi library

Carihi’s teacher-librarians are creating a proposal to renovate the library.

Braden Majic

Carihi Mirror

Carihi’s recent addition of a new teacher-librarian allows for the creation of a proposal to renovate the current library into a 21st-century learning commons.

“I just think it’s exciting that there is support for libraries in our school district… it makes a huge difference,” said Betsy Muir. She has been working in Carihi’s library since 2008.

New teacher-librarian at Carihi Tracy Finkensiep began working on Feb. 14.

“I was very impressed with how welcoming [Carihi] was,” she said.

With the library now staffed full time, Finkensiep and Muir are in the library on certain days during the week. A library clerk is also present for the first three Fridays of every month.

“To me, the library is the heart of the school,” said Finkensiep. “This is where people come, they do things, they meet… I think you need a human here.”

The job of a teacher-librarian is to help students find books, help with assignments, research and studying.

“A lot of the job is looking at what’s being taught in the school and then selecting resources to complement what teachers are doing,” said Muir, adding that the process takes time.

The vision of a “less library” learning commons would be more open concept with flexible seating, move-able tables to make it easier for presentations, studying, working and socializing.

“Together, we have time to come up with a proposal for renovating this space to make it more of a collaborative learning space,” said Muir.

The current library has two separate computer labs, several rows of bookshelves for fiction and nonfiction books and numerous tables to sit at and work.

The proposed renovation would see the removal of the traditional lab atmosphere to be replaced with flexible seating with laptops that could be handed out from a cart.

“We’re not teaching like that anymore,” said Finkensiep. “We are teaching more flexible and mobile.”

The Carihi library sees around 400 students circling in and out each day.

Finkensiep and Muir plan on travelling to libraries in Nanaimo to get ideas on how the learning commons model can benefit Carihi.

Carihi Mirror