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Oklahoma school library undergoes makeover

November 4, 2018

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — Hilldale Middle School and High School students can go to the library and sit on a plush sectional sofa, red metal bar stools, even the floor.

Librarian Laurel Croftcheck said she wanted to create smaller, more comfortable spaces for students.

“I wanted them to have tables and little reading nooks, and spaces where they could be comfortable,” she told the Muskogee Phoenix .

So, she spent the summer re-arranging and repainting the library, which connects the two schools.

“I came up here during the summer almost every day,” she said. “My husband, when he was in town, would come and help. We worked our way at it, little by little.”

She said they repainted bookshelves, tables and walls.

A “READ” mural, painted in 2013 by 2011 Hilldale graduate Taylor McCoy, remains. It features scenes from different genres.

A Native American display was moved to the Indian Education room. A set of mid-century chairs with wood arms and legs got new covers.

Rows of bookshelves were rearranged to form separate study and reading areas.

Hilldale senior Lee Anna Murrie said the new spaces are “a lot more inviting.”

“Everything is positioned to where it’s open, and people can sit where they want,” Murrie said.

Croftcheck said she has not totaled how much she spent or the school spent on the new look. She said the school bought new tables and chairs for the library’s classroom space.

New trapezoid-shaped tables can be arranged for different settings.

“We usually have them in a U-shape,” she said. “I chose them thinking we could move them around a lot.”

There also are balance ball chairs, designed to improve posture and stability.

“Everything else, I kind of picked up on my own,” Croftcheck said.

Students enjoy a plush sectional sofa, she said.

Another popular spot is a wood cable spool repurposed as a counter-high table, surrounded by high stools.

“It was donated by our secretary,” Croftcheck said. “They had at their house, kind of sitting around. She asked if I needed it. We thought it would be a great little table.”

Another table was lowered to knee height, so students can sit on pillows arranged on the floor.

One area features space where students can play card games or do crafts during their flex time, she said.

Croftcheck is new to the library. She taught English at Hilldale High until this school year. She is earning a master’s degree in library, media and information technology at Northeastern State University, where she plans to graduate in December 2019.

“I always wanted to be an English teacher, and I loved it, but the more time I spent in here with my classes at the library, I just saw all the different things you could do and thought it would be fun,” she said. “Whenever I get an idea in my mind, I just go for it.”

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Information from: Muskogee Phoenix, http://www.muskogeephoenix.com

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