Meadowlark giving library a facelift

Bulletin photo by Stephen Dow

Johnson County School District librarian Leigh Ann Schimmel helps lead students in a craft in the Meadowlark Elementary School library. The library, which hasn’t been renovated since construction in 1975, will be getting a major facelift in early 2019.

If you’ve been a student at Meadowlark Elementary School since its construction in 1975, you likely remember the school’s library. What you might not know is that it hasn’t changed much since you were a kid.

“It more or less looks exactly the same as when I was in school,” said Leigh Ann Schimmel as she helped lead first-graders in a craft in the library. “It’s about time that it got a little bit of a facelift.”

Schimmel, who is Johnson County School District’s librarian, and Meadowlark Principal Laurie Graves are in the early stages of planning a remodel of the library, which serves about 260 students at the K-2 school. Changes could be implemented as early as the third quarter, which starts in January, Graves said.

The most pressing need the remodel will address is new shelving, according to Schimmel.

“We need to make books more accessible for our little guys,” Schimmel said. “Some of our current shelving units are too tall to be practical for our kids. Our whole goal with this remodel is to make things more kid-friendly.”

While shelving is the first priority, Schimmel and Graves said they also wanted more seating for both kids and adults, additional computers and a maker space where kids can build with Legos. They also hope to add a mural, which would add a little color to the room.

“We’re thinking of making an ‘I spy’ mural, which would be fun for the kids,” Schimmel said. “We’re also going to create a fun little reading area, where the seats will be saddles, which will go along with the Mustangs theme for the school.”

Schimmel and Graves said they are currently receiving bids for various aspects of the project and do not yet know a total price tag. Graves said the project could be done in multiple phases, depending on available funding from the school district.

“We’re hopeful that we can create a fun, colorful area where our kids are excited to come and read,” Graves said. “It’s a pretty important project, and we’re excited to get started.”

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