New books, and vinyl

After Thanksgiving, FDSH students will enjoy remodeled library

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Fort Dodge Senior High librarian/teacher Jen Cole works on her laptop in the newly installed seating in the remodeled library. The new library is airy, well lit and comfortable.

When the students at Fort Dodge Senior High return from their break after the Thanksgiving holiday they’ll be welcomed into the newly remodeled library.

Teacher/librarian Jen Cole said they only have to wait a few more days.

“It’ll be ready Monday.” she said. “They’re going to come back from break and we’ll have coffee and doughnuts.”

Among the first special events, an author talk.

“We’re going to Skype with author Angie Thomas, she wrote “The Hate You Give.” she said. “Be forewarned though, the book and the movie are way different.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Fort Dodge Senior High librarian/teacher Jen Cole checks out one of the books available in the remodeled library. The library has expanded its collection and also partnered with the Fort Dodge Public Library to provide books to the students.

The new library features a coffee station. Cole is hoping to develop it and run it like a small business the students can use to raise funds.

“It’s a work in progress.” she said.

Students will also find some added technology that includes a series of 55-inch wall mounted screens with a work table and chairs next to them.

“They have the ability to connect their ChromeBooks to them.” she said. “They’ll be able to collaborate on the screen and work together. I’m really excited about that. I’ve had a lot of teachers request time on them, too. I’m able to fulfill their needs in this space.”

Another addition to the library brings back some old technology.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Fort Dodge Senior High librarian/teacher Jen Cole adds a welcoming note to one of the dry erase tables that have been installed in the remodeled library.

“We’re going to have vinyl records.” she said. “You can connect the songs to history. It’s also an awesome way to relax. Enjoy a record while you work. It’s a cool way to draw kids into reading.”

Cole, who grew up in the ’90s, said the students are looking forward to it even though the format predates the current crop of students.

“They are so excited,” she said. “They know a lot of music I know.”

The Tech Area where staff works on the ChromeBooks and other gear is now out in the open where the students will be able to see them work. There is also a maker space and Cole plans on bringing in a sewing machine which already has a first project scheduled.

The students will get to make pillow cushions for the new seating.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Fort Dodge Senior High librarian/teacher Jen Cole peels off some of the packing plastic from one of the new 55 inch monitors in the remodeled library. Students and staff can connect their ChromBooks to the monitors to work on projects together.

“I already have the fabric.” she said.

The new decor in the library is bright and airy. The furnishings and walls are done in the Dodger colors of red, black and white.

Of course, the new library also has books. In fact, it has more books now than it did before.

“We asked in a survey what the students wanted in their library.” she said. “A lot of them wrote they wanted more books. We’ve expanded our collection and have more shelving.”

The school library is also partnering with the Fort Dodge Public Library. Cole said the public library has helped with book selections and actual books as well.

“I’m excited about that.” she said.

The goal of the work?

“We want to make it more of a learning commons.” she said.

The students have already peeked in a few times to see how the work is coming along.

“They’re already sneaking in.” Cole said. “I put them to work.”

Jennifer Lane, communications director for the Fort Dodge Community School District, is proud of the new library, too.

“It’s transformed the library from what it was when we were in school into the 21st century,” Lane said. “She’s done a great job of that.”

The public will be able to tour the new library at an open house at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 8.