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Bob Jones media center gets makeover

Cindy Husky applied her motto, “Go big, or go home” in transforming the Bob Jones High School library from its 1996 model into a 21st-century media center.

Bob Jones' library was reconfigured into a 21st-century media center.

“With the opening of James Clemens, Bob Jones has gone through (significant) change. It seemed the perfect opportunity to make just one more,” Huskey said.

She believes the media ‘center’ should be the school’s information hub. With that aim, Huskey measured walls and drew a new configuration to scale on oversized graph paper. Her goal was “to entice students (similarly) to how Starbucks and Barnes & Noble draw a crowd.”

Now, multiple classes can visit simultaneously for research and skills instruction while “capitalizing the courtyard view in the back windows,” she said.

Every bookshelf, table and computer in the library was moved. The original circulation desk was dismantled and downsized. Columns were painted, and furniture staged into several reading areas.

“All summer reading novels are housed behind the front desk. These are the most popular checkouts at the beginning of each semester,” Huskey said.

Biographies were placed with reference sections for easier research for English and social science classes. A “Staff Picks” shelf showcases favorite novels of student aides and faculty who call the media center ‘home.’

Soon, a full-service, student-run coffee shop will raise library funds, particularly for eBooks and eReaders.

Currently, Bob Jones personnel are working to secure funding for an additional iPad cart with 30 iPads, a laptop cart, portable sound system and improved WiFi connectivity.

Club sponsors hold meetings there before and after school. Teachers offer tutoring sessions, check out various materials and meet with Huskey to train for iPads, Web 2.0 tool and updating their Web pages. Monthly, the faculty meets for “Empowering Instruction.”

Huskey graduated from the University of Alabama last December. “This is my first year as a media specialist,” she said. Shane Jones also works as media specialist.

The media center still needs seating for students. Huskey encourages residents to donate “before hauling those rusty barstools, small bistro tables and chairs to the curb. There’s nothing a good coat of Rust-Oleum can’t fix.”

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