When I started writing a blog about the renovation, I ended up with a really dry essay which pretty much detailed the entire process from start to finish. However, I know that time is precious and I thought you all would instead enjoy a Buzzfeed –style list! If you really want the nitty-gritty details, email me—I’m more than happy to answer any questions, or sit down and chat with you!
- In the words of the venerable Tricia Bengal (Limitless Libraries), the last 20 items on the punch list will take the longest to complete.
- Having another person in your exact position going through this with you is absolutely invaluable. (I love you, Melissa Raines). This process would have been a thousand times harder without someone to bounce ideas off of, text progress photos with, problem-solve with, and occasionally vent with.
- Having an administrator who is completely involved in the process and only missed 1 construction meeting throughout this ENTIRE year-long process is the very reason why I believe Apollo deserved this renovation. Cherish Piche was a HUGE resource for someone new to the school and she has been such an amazing supporter and instigator on this project, and she represented Apollo’s administration extremely well.
- A good contractor makes all the difference in the world. I know both Melissa and I would agree to that. (We love you Micah and Jody!)
- When they say it will be done August 1, that really means about September 1st. And even then, not everything will be done by a long shot, but you will let kids in because you want them in the new space and you’re tired of telling them it is still closed.
- Signage WILL be the bane of your existence, no matter how early you order it, it probably won’t be in before the Grand opening. BUT, in the end, it will look absolutely AMAZING and be a real stunner in your space.
- Strong men will help move your books off of and back on to the shelves, which is AWESOME. My recommendations for this are to WEED, WEED, WEED beforehand (I came in to the project too late to do this, but I did do a massive weed as soon as the books were on the shelves).
- Have a plan for where you want to place materials back on the shelves, because you will feel bad when you make a change that means the strong men have to shift ALL of the books over again. But they will do it (and if you bring them doughnuts, they’ll smile and at least tell you it wasn’t as bad as moving the books at Austin Peay was).
- Don’t have a book fair before the library is even technically open. Mine was fine (actually, it was GREAT, more than double the year before), but it was a LOT of added stress and in hindsight, I may have been crazy to do that.
- Grand openings are amazing. The mayor will bring his own podium, everyone is happy and impressed, and you will get to give the mayor a tour of the new space. But the best part is that you get to use the giant scissors to cut the official ribbon.
- If you thought your library was busy before, prepare for it to be even busier. Now, more than ever before, you MUST have a clerk and you should work together with them to set out new policies about the new technology. I’m grateful for mine every day.
- You will get a THOUSAND keys by the end of the process—to your office, to the classroom, to the outside doors, to the alarms, to the charging lockers, to the cabinets, to more cabinets, to those cabinets that have 4 keyholes each and 4 separate keys for them. I recommend using sharpies and clear nail polish to label them.
- You will probably rearrange the furniture a thousand times, and that is okay. Eventually you’ll get it right, and if you don’t, having furniture on wheels helps tremendously.
- You will be consulted on the placement of technology, sizes of items, furniture, wall colors, etc., and it’s sometimes stressful to make sure you are ordering the right items, but just breathe and know that it will all work out, especially since Tricia Bengal and Allison Barney (Limitless Libraries) are there to help you out, since they’ve done several renovations before.
- School Dude is an actual program in which school work orders are created...it is not a silly name for the maintenance workers in MNPS.
- You will gain a new vocabulary, which may include any of the following:
a. Slatwall- hanging slatted wall in which display posters can go.b. Swingframes—movie-theatre like frames for displaying posters, etc.
c. Punch List—the massive list you make of all the things that need to be finished up to make the renovation complete.d. VBrick—A device used to record things and send them out to a portal online.e. Useeview—A cool program that allows you to send out scrolling items and announcements on your school televisions.f. Makerbot—the brand of 3D printer that we purchased. It’s amazing.g. Extruder - the portion of hte makerbot that melts the plastic and funnels it into the design. Ours and DuPont Tyler's broke early on, and we had to purchase new ones. Make sure you update the software often to help this not happen.
h. Ceiling clouds- ceiling tiles that float above and add visual interest.
i. MakeyMakey- a neat circuit-building toy that the kids can use to do all sorts of cool things, like use play-doh to do computer commands!
- If given the choice, buy the heavy magnetic bookends and not the light cork ones. They hold the books better and make the shelves look nice.
- Teach your teachers about the space—it seems obvious to share with students all the new rules/procedures/cool new things in the library, but make sure you also share those resources with the teachers.
- Mount your Ipads into studs. Otherwise, they will come off the wall.
- Having a TSS (Technology Support Specialist) who will lock up your electronic deliveries throughout the summer and during the renovation is key—you will be “homeless” for a while during the renovation, so make sure you know where your deliveries and electronics are going.
- You will be responsible for making and installing all of your new shelving signage. Just be prepared for that—it’s a process!
- Make a folder in your email for all construction-related emails. You will have SOOOOOOOO many of them.
- Did I mention that you get to cut the ribbon in the grand opening?
- It’s December 1st and still not everything is done. But it is a beautiful space and everyone loves it, especially me. I could not be happier, and at least once a day, the kids comment that they want to live in the library. That’s the biggest win of all.
- Enjoy the ride. I’m still changing things, adding things, and learning about the new technology. Fortunately, I had SO much help and so many awesome people on the team making this happen. A hearty THANK you to Adam, Melissa, Steve Clendenin, Jennifer, Tricia, Allison, Cherish, Jon Hubble, Stephanie, Micah, Nicole, Don, Kecia, Elyse, John Teeter, Crissy, Joe Edgens, and Steve Ide (and I really hope I didn’t miss anyone!)
Teacher-Librarian at Apollo Middle School
Teacher-Librarian at Apollo Middle School