School, public libraries turning a new page

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A new story is being told at libraries across the Midstate. With information available online, some libraries are being revamped.

Traditionally, libraries are book-based. Because of that, it became an unpopular spot at Big Spring High School.

“No one really came here,” junior Jenna Kurtz said. “It was just kind of empty.”

Now, Kurtz goes to the library every day.

“I’m doing a research paper now,” she said. “I came here the other day and I got four or five books, checked them out, then I just sat there on my laptop and took notes and typed away.”

The term “library” is becoming outdated. At Big Spring, it’s known as the “learning commons,” a place where students can grab something to eat, something to drink, and get to work with updated technology.

“This has opened it up, made people feel more comfortable,” librarian Denise Mancuso said. “They feel comfortable working in groups, so it’s really changed the atmosphere.”

Students are so comfortable, the “learning commons” is now the place to be.

“I like it,” Kurtz said. “It’s more of an approachable way to research. You don’t feel so weird coming up here to work. You can eat lunch or chat with your friends and you can still do your work.”

The trend doesn’t stop at schools. Public libraries are also starting a new chapter.

“I’ve seen libraries in general evolve from places that used to be more or less repositories of book and then they became repositories of books and DVDs,” Frederickson Library director Bonnie Goble said. “Now, with the entire electronic universe, we try to make Fredricksen a community center.”

There is a children’s area, a coffee corner, a spot for e-books, and all kinds of adult programs.

“We want to be the place where everyone goes, the destination of choice,” Goble said. “I think a lot of libraries that are successful have that in their hearts as their guiding principle.”

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