HHS library opens with a new look



The times they are a changin? at Hillsboro High School?s Wiebe Media Center.

Librarian Sandy Arnold believes the changes are for the better.

?Last year, I read an article that libraries were being changed into more of a bookstore look,? Arnold said.

She decided to bring those changes to Hillsboro. The most noticeable renovation is a coffee cafe and lounge called ?Star?books? to make reading more inviting.

?If people come in to get a cup of coffee or cappuccino, they?re more likely to stay and browse while they drink,? Arnold said.

The lounge features new furniture, including high tables on which students can do their homework, and two flat-screen televisions.

Along with adding new furniture and refreshment selections, the library has heightened the bookstore feel by replacing the Dewey Decimal System with signage and displays that draw students to different genres of literature.

?We?re really trying to get the books to be more easily accessible,? Arnold said.

The new approach entices students to pick up a book and then want to read it, according to Arnold.

?Kids are generally only going to look at the cover, so we just made display after display after display of books turned out,? Arnold said. ?Those are the books that get checked out.?

Some of these displays feature books that are required reading for the William Allen White State Book Award.

?We have a display for that because kids have to read them anyway,? Arnold said.

The display approach uses more shelf space. To make room, some of the library books were donated to Better World Books, an organization that provides books to children and schools in Third World countries.

Arnold credits Janet Whisen?hunt, assistant librarian, for the idea and construction of the Starbooks lounge.

?She and I were really just trying to get kids to the library,? Arnold said. ?That was our biggest goal.?

The cafe officially opened Sept. 7. Whisenhunt is happy with how students are responding.

?The student reaction has been very positive,? she said.

HHS principal Max Heinrichs has been supportive, both financially and about the concept itself, Arnold said.

The project is a work in progress. ?All the little things,? as Arnold refers to the details, are still being developed. Some of those include acquiring additional supplies and possibly adding nutritional or energy bars to the menu.

The cafe must be operated according to state health codes.

One idea still being explored is having student volunteers manage the coffee area.

?I?d like to try incorporating classes for students to work the lounge,? Arnold said. ?We just need to try it and see how it goes.?

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