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Garrison-Pilcher's newly renovated media center buzzes with excitement

GP Library

Thomas County Schools’ newly renovated library at Garrison-Pilcher Elementary School is filled with the buzz of tiny voices excited about the book they may have just finished reading or even more excited about the book they are looking to find. Students look forward to visiting the library as a class or independently during the day.

Specific modern upgrades for the library include more kid-friendly furniture, a reading area with a large couch, bookshelves that are the same height as the students, and large windows for the students to see in and out of the library.  There is also a “makerspace” area for the students to make and create. A makerspace is a collaborative work space inside a school, library, or other facility for making, learning, exploring, and sharing.

The lighting is brighter and can be controlled at various settings. Two ViewBoards are available for teaching whole groups in the makerspace and reading areas.

“The bright colors and the appealing furniture have made students want to visit the library as often as they can,” said Media Specialist Elexis Griffin.  “When they come into the library, they feel more comfortable and at ease when they are here.”

Griffin said that the students don’t feel crowded and are able to move around more freely.

Opportunities for students to frequently and independently visit the library last year were impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.  Since students are able to come to the library more often this year, there has been an increase in STAR reading levels which correlates with the Accelerated Reading program that incentivizes students and their families to read at home and on a regular basis outside of school.

Activities beyond reading, like coming in to do makerspace lessons as a class are regular experiences for the students and teachers this year.  Individually, students can come use the makerspace area as a reward for good behavior.

“We have items such as Legos, building blocks, drawing paper, K'Nex, and a variety of other activities for the students to enjoy,” Griffin said.  

Griffin focused on the positives when she looks back at the restrictions of last year.  The students had to come as a class, but she was able to see every class at least twice a week so that she could learn the students' names and form a relationship with each of them. Classes still come as a group to the library once a week for a read aloud session and to switch out books, but individual students can come as often as they need to get a new book.

Griffin added, “Just seeing students every day makes my heart happy. I am able to teach classes again and able to form relationships with our students. My students are the reason why I love my job!”

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