The Great Library Makeover – Part 1

The Great Library Makeover Part 1

I realized the other day that while I’ve been posting tons of pictures of our library makeover on Instagram and Twitter, I had yet to properly blog and show off how amazing the library looks.  So this post is Part 1, since we aren’t quite done with everything yet.  You’ll get to see our fiction section, reading nooks and brand new cafe.  The instruction area and Makerspace are still works in progress – so I’m waiting until they’re a little more done to make the big post on those areas.

New catalog station

New catalog station from the IKEA As-Is section

We repainted the library over the summer as part of our Lowes Toolbox for Education Grant.  The beautiful blues and greens really brighten up the library, and it creates an atmosphere that is vibrant and calming at the same time.  You’ll see them throughout the posts I’ll be writing – it’s made such a huge difference.

I spent a lot of time this summer going to IKEA to get little details that help make the library nicer.  One not-so-little detail is our new catalog station.  It’s a former employee station from IKEA that I found in the as-is section for $22!  I couldn’t resist that price, and I love how it looks.  It has nice little cubbies on the sides – we keep our loaner books for students who have overdue or lost books here.

Our amazing new reading cafe!

Our amazing new reading cafe!

This has been one of the biggest new things that our teachers and students love.  My supervisor bought these for our library from Demco (these are the tables and these are the chairs).  These have been INSANELY popular. Teachers love sitting here during their planning period.  Students love them for working on homework and eating snacks.  Parents visiting our campus will use them to chat with their child’s teachers.  I’ve heard many comments from students and adults that it makes the library feel like a Starbucks, only cooler (and without coffee for the kids).

Our new book display rack

Our new book display rack

This new book display rack was an investment I decided to make to create a little more space in our reading cafe.  I used some of our bookfair funds from last year to get it from Demco – it’s pretty economical for its size.  You can see the red racks we had before in this post.  My library is on the small side for the size of our student population, so when I found out I was getting the cafe tables and chairs, I knew that something had to go.  I decided to change out our red display racks (which didn’t really fit with the new color theme) for a more compact book display.  This one holds as much as one of the red racks, and I think it makes the area much more user friendly.  I’m repurposing one of the red racks for our Makerspace – you’ll see those results soon 🙂

reading nooks

At the end of the school year last year, I rearranged the fiction shelving units to create two nooks in this area.  This also created more visibility in this area, and allowed me to create a little more space in the computer lab.  I’ve moved some comfy furniture over here, and my students love sitting and reading or chatting with their friends.  I plan to add in some charging stations over here later.

What do you think of the change-ups?  How have you changed up your learning space this year? 

Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog She was a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest from 2015-2018. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.


  1. Impressive. I like how much you’ve invested yourself into the space.

  2. […] in August I blogged Part 1 of how we’ve been making over our library this year.  We’ve been really busy since […]

  3. […] The Great Library Makeover Part 1  […]

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