Revamping the Hope Academy Library making it user-friendly

Recently URF purchased new books for the community library at Hope Academy but the space needed some tuning up to make the library user-friendly. Two volunteers, Jehan Loke and Jessica Santos from Australia, have done an incredible job doing just that. Here is what they have to share:

Stamping and recording new books

“We’ve decided to take on Hope Academy’s library as a bit of a project.  While it’s a cute and cosy library, when we first arrived, it was apparent that the books were in need of some TLC! A number of them were badly damaged, and were somewhat disorganised due to the fact that Hope Academy has been missing a librarian for the last term!

As Jess’s mother is a school librarian back in Australia, a number of phone calls and emails were made, and a game plan was put together to give the library a new lease of life! This was particularly important as the school was expecting at least 300 new books in the coming weeks. Thanks to the Dewey Decimal System, Jess and Je began the long task of stocktaking and updating the inventory of books, as well as creating new visible codes on the covers and spines for easy identification for library users.

The culprit.

The library itself also needed a bit of work – a few windows don’t have glass, so it was really dusty, had heaps of wasp nests, and a couple of little birds had made the Geography section their home.  We were initially reluctant, but unfortunately the decision had to be made to remove their nest from the library.  However, each day when we opened up the library, a new nest had been built in a different section – above the collection of “English In Use” books is proving pretty conducive to nest-building!

Last fortnight saw the mass arrival of loads of text books from funds that had been kindly donated to the school (thank you J)!  It took over a week (and we went through about 3 permanent markers!) but eventually all books were entered and the library was complete! We were surprised to learn that the big set of shelves in the middle of the library, which were set for dismantlement, were going to be vital (at least for now) in holding the expanded collection of books. But we also had visions of an open space in the middle of the room where we could set up some desks for students to research and complete their school work (at present, they had to stand up and read their books or lean on shelves to complete their work).

The Hope Library after

Could both co-exist???? With some help from Martin, Charles and some other Hope Students the answer was YES! After some shuffling back and forth, we managed to re-organise the library so a middle study section was possible! Thanks guys! The students have already started making use of this new area which is extremely exciting!

The Hope Library after receiving new books and re-arranging the shelves.  Students are now free to sit and read/study in the library.

Our next task was to set up a new borrowing system. To date, borrowed books were recorded in an old exercise book, on a daily basis. This made it really challenging to find particular books when they were being returned, and to keep track of which students had which books. With the help of Caroline, who cut up about 200 library borrowing cards, we have created a new borrowing procedure! Each student, teacher and URF staff member now has their own personalised borrowing card and borrowing book page where their borrowing history can be recorded and the books coming in and out of the library can be tracked.

The next tasks to finalise the include a library orientation lesson for all Hope students, and (funds permitting) a book-covering session to help protect the new books in the library so they can be enjoyed by students in many years to come.”