Media Specialist Transforms the WHS Library Into a Creative Place for Learning
by Eikaiva Boyer
When Media Specialist Cynthia Doggett was hired two years ago, she made a goal. A goal that would change the student’s at Walkersville High School thoughts and opinions on how amazing a library can be. Doggett has made the library refreshing.
“The biggest change I wanted to make was to change the culture of the library. I wanted to make students feel welcome in the library, to know that this is their space. Even non-readers can make use of a library, because it is not only a place to access books and databases, but it is a place to exchange ideas and to learn collaboratively. And a place to relax and de-stress,” and Doggett has done just that. Doggett has added interactive tables, puzzles, crafts, and a more improved instructional area, even for the non-readers out there. By doing this, she has made usually non-goers of the library more familiar and welcome to the library community. Doggett has made such an improvement, she has to cut off the flex and lunch list to a certain number of students that can attend the library during these blocks. “The eating area for lunch shifts is a popular site, too popular some days!” she stated with a laugh.
“I rearranged the media center to make several different learning areas, and I think this also opens it up to more users. They seem to like my new chairs on wheels in the instructional area, and I have to agree that they are much more comfortable than the backless chairs they replaced,” commented Doggett.
Doggett has taken it one step more by adding crafts to the library, who doesn’t love crafts when you’re dealing with stress, heartbreak, and an increase of hormones, this is perfect to remove oneself from the school and go to a place of relaxation and creativity. “I have a couple of craft stations set out that are seeing some use. Frederick Rocks painting and (coming soon) duct tape crafts,” said Doggett. “The rock painting has really drawn students in as a relaxing way for students to wind down from stress,” commented senior Keren Ott. Personally one of my favorite new items in the library is the dry erase marker table. I use this to write down all my ideas for essays. When you have so much to talk about, and you’re a busy high school student, it’s best to use these tools to your advantage.
“I think her allowing students and trusting them to be able to eat and drink in the small nook area is a big improvement because it promotes kids doing homework and focusing on school and reading. She is always such a helpful person and I truly am so grateful to have her to help me everyday. She is such an amazing person,” commented Ott.
“I️ love the library! The books are much more organized it’s easier to find a book. The chairs and tables give life to the library, and the different sections she had are quite helpful. A library should not only have room to read, but also area to learn, and that’s what she has done. She’s made spots for studying and working on projects with friends, and even areas to eat for when you have to skip lunch to finish up a project,” said senior Parker Montour.
“I love it!! I love how she is always engaged with her students and goes out of her way to make it a student friendly environment. As of thus moment Ms. Doggett and I are working on new additions to the library,” commented senior Debbie Afolabi.
“The new chairs and high tables definitely brighten up the library and give it a more vibrant colorful look. Libraries are usually stereotyped as dull and boring but with the changes made by the wonderful Ms. Doggett, Walkersville High School’s library is the complete opposite. It is both warm and inviting to the students. Her efforts are changing the way students think about the library. Ms. Doggett is killing the boring library stereotype with her groovy new additions to the library!” commented senior Taylor Seabolt.
But this isn’t all, Doggett wants to keep adding until it’s just like the dream library she has always wanted. “There is still much to do. I want to get modular tables on wheels so that we can easily rearrange the instructional area to fit large and small group work. I want more tall chairs for the tall tables (that are already placed in the library). I want items to put in a Makerspace area,” commented Doggett. Unfortunately, Doggett is restricted to only spending 25% of her budget on non-media materials and resources. Although her ultimate librarian dream is to paint the actual library! “I want to add color to the library, murals, a dry erase wall, to brighten it up!!”
Doggett is always up for suggestions, “so if anyone sees a positive change I can make, please let me know,” said Doggett.
“I would add a writing center with students who are good at writing to help students with their papers, because I am really interested in that kind of stuff and sure would use it!” said Ott.
“The library is not big enough; if we had room I️ would wish to add a divider or silencer to one of the sections to make for a more peaceful area. You can’t ask for an entire library to be quiet because it is a place to learn and work. But to have a section or two where it’s a bit quieter for those wishing to read, would be nice,” stated Montour.
Walkersville High School is very lucky to have a librarian that is so active and involved for students to have the best library they can. This will make their learning experience exceptional and memorable, and the more creative a workspace is, the more intelligent you will think, hopefully.