Children go through a certain routine in their classes every day. To take them out of monotony, you need to provide them with several options for a healthy distraction, such as access to the playground, art and craft room, music room, and library. Library is one of the few places that offer a platform for personal growth and relaxation. How good would it be to make it so interesting for the children that they start looking forward to it as a place to visit for fun as well?
When you think of a library, your mind would conjure up images of shelves of books, CDs/DVDs, and magazines, and an arrangement of tables and chairs for the children to read at. These are rather essential components of a library, but you may give it the contemporary touch by adding a few features to your otherwise resourceful outlet. By customizing your library based on the taste of its visitors, you can keep them coming in not only to fulfill requirements but also to feel rejuvenated.
You could have a kind of large notice board installed outside the school library to display information on the new resource entrants. A great tip is to encourage the school students to design promotional posters and write reviews of the library resources to be put up on the board.
You could have a set of computers to play the role of catalogues having information about the library resources. The students could be let to search for the availability of a resource by its name/author's name/publication/related subject/genre/any other key words. You can even let them enter their reviews for resources in the catalogue for others to read.
Rather than merely arranging the books, magazines, CDs/DVDs in shelves, you could partition them as sections in the library. Each section could be designed to also visually present the related subject. For instance, a section on History could have walls painted with figures and faces of historical significance, the important dates (as are expected to be remembered by the children of most classes who would visit this section) could be displayed with a description they are important because of, the furniture (essentially, chairs and tables) in can be designed to represent the simpler times, and even the book shelves could be carved in a way book shelves used to be in the olden times. When you provide with an ambience relevant to a section, the readers will enjoy a wholesome experience.
Some children like to read while they eat. You could have a non-air conditioned dine-in corner in the library for children to eat dry snacks while they read. However, you will have to either provide them with gloves or laminate the pages of the books/magazines so that they do not get damaged in any way. One way you can save cost in maintenance is by allowing children access to only the 'reference only' books and magazines in the dine-and-read corner.
One way you can arrange the books in the library is by the subject they cater to. This is the most common way of segregating books, as you can see in most libraries. However, you could go a step further by cordoning off each subject section, especially those that can pave way for experimentation, into a sound- proof area. For instance, if you have a section on 'Sounds', you may have a small sound studio along the shelves, where the children can experiment what they have read about. You may need to appoint supervisors proficient in the subjects to take care of each segregated section, so that the children can seek help on how to handle the different equipment.
Different readers have different reading habits. A great reading area is one where young readers look forward to spend their time either reading in solitude or in groups. An ergonomically designed library allows young readers to sit comfortably and have a great library experience. To enable discussions & group projects, round tables with chairs arranged around them. You could even have a black/white-board installed in sections that are bound to invite discussions. For the ones who enjoy reading on their own, little nooks and corners can be converted to little Reading-Pods using bean-bags, soft furniture and mats etc.
Children welcome anything that could kindle curiosity. A good idea is creating an enclosed section of surprise for them to discover every day. For instance, you might throw open a practical puzzle for them to solve and provide them with clues in the corner space. You could either set a rule that they should solve the puzzle while in the enclosed corner or allow them to take note of the clues and come back with the solution later in the day. The idea is to encourage them to be open to exploring by themselves and through discussions with their friends. You could announce weekly/monthly winners and give them prizes such as a free subscription to a magazine for a month or a coupon to borrow one or more books in a visit within the next month.
As much as you provide children with things to explore, you could also provide them with opportunities to display their talents. Art and craft competitions are held in most schools. You could dedicate a corner of the school library to display the fabulous works of the children. You could also display their short stories, poems, and other literary creations in this gallery. Such a space will act as a source of inspiration for the other children.