This makeover is one for the books—and state-of-the art computer media.
Woodland Hills High School unveiled its newly remodeled Library Media Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon. Senior class President Blair Mundy led the countdown as student council and class officers cut the turquoise ribbon officially reopening the facility at the heart of the school.
"Public schools represent the ultimate expression of a community's belief in itself and its future," said Alan Johnson, the district's deputy superintendent. "This library is our investment in the belief we have in our students and our communities. This is a wonderful high school. Our kids deserve it. Our teachers deserve it."
Light and bright and very high tech, it bears little resemblence to its former self with its rows of iMac computers and spacious area for tables and chairs, a room for its 11,000 book collection with lighting that feels more like someone's den, separate student and teacher work rooms, and a conference room that has Polycom teleconferencing technology.
In addition to the iMacs, there are 60 Macbook Airs and 60 iPads. The library also has a DVD and VHS collection of documentaries and feature films and a number of electronic databases.
Despite the emphasis on technology, high school Librarian Kevin McGuire, who is also a media specialist, has expanded the collection of print books to its largest number "in decades," Jason Coleman, high school technology coach, pointed out.
"He (McGuire) has gone above and beyond to reach out to students to get what they want to read," Coleman told the crowd touring the facility. "He knows what's working for adolescents in 2013."
Automatic partitions can divide the main library section into four separate pods. The partition walls can serve as a white board, enabling teachers or students to write as though it were a dry-erase board.
Principal Dan Stephens envisions the library as eventually having a "BYOD" policy—that is, Bring Your Own Device." Coleman said that policy might not become reality for a few more years.
Stephens cited the hard work and persistence of many district administrators who helped make the Library Media Center a reality.
Among the speakers was Wes Lyons, Class of 2006, who earned academic and athletic honors while excelling at football. After attending West Virginia University, he was picked up by the New York Jets and then came to the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice squad. an inspirational book about the obstacles he faced in pursuit of the NFL.
Lyons told the students gathered that they must take advantage of the help offered by teachers and parents.
"You've got to use your resources," he continued. "You have this new library. You have excellent books in here. You must take advantage of the opportunities you get and you'll be successful."