Leechburg Area Media Center moves library in new direction
Leechburg Area School District has turned the page on a new library.
Renovations are almost complete on a new Leechburg Area Media Center library and superintendent Tiffany Nix says this latest project is moving the district one step closer to providing a 21st century learning environment for students.
“We are looking for more hands-on experiences,” Nix said. “Our Creation Nation upstairs was recently completed and this is an extension of this concept.”
The library serves approximately 850 students and re-opens to the public on Jan. 7. Public hours are 4 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays.
The new design revolves around STEM-based innovative and collaborative activities, such as a makerspace room with a 3-D printer, Kindle e-books, STEAM kits and more.
It’s time to go beyond the books, says Nix.
“Part of this vision goes with our renovation which is to make us more of a hands-on learning environment,” she says. “Gone are the days of just sitting and listening to the teacher speaking and reading a book.”
Created and designed by Inventionland, located in RIDC Park in O’Hara Township, the entire media center supports state-of-the-art technology with a castle/fairytale theme throughout the four main areas: a cafe, separate elementary and high school/public library areas and a computer room.
“This has been two years in the making,” Nix said. “This is a wonderful new atmosphere for our students and the community.”
Community, school connection
The media center was paid for in part by a $25,000 Pennsylvania Department of Education grant and local funds through bond issuance, Nix said.
A semester-long Inventionland Innovation Course is offered at the high school and provides students with an opportunity to compete in an innovation contest, where they pitch their invention ideas to a panel of industry experts. The course is popular, ties in with the new media center and the recently finished Creation Nation area that opened last semester in the high school.
Elementary students are digging the oversized treehouse area in the elementary section of the library said K-12 librarian Paula Moran.
“They can’t wait to finish their assignments and read at the treehouse or play. They are loving it,” Moran said. Moran keeps all of her books in a large separate room dubbed the “book room in the elementary section of the library, which boasts a large green screen suitable for future video projects, puffy white clouds hanging from the ceiling, dry-erase topped tables and a dimensional castle shaped wall.
“It makes you feel like you’re outside because there’s all of these painting and stuff on the wall, of like trees,” said third-grader Cameron Shimer.
A Castle Cafe, positioned in between the elementary and high school libraries, is in the final stages of construction.
Students from the high school Lifeskills class will operate the cafe, available to the high school students after school.
“There will be popcorn, coffee and hot dogs among other offerings. It will be open to the public patrons too,” said library director Charlene Hoffer.
Meeting the needs
Future library plans include offering workshops, technology classes, holiday storytimes, a summer reading program and art classes.
“I’d like to discover what our library can do to meet the needs of our community,” Hoffer said. “It could potentially operate as a community center through providing engaging activities and I am asking for input from anyone willing to make suggestions.”
All Leechburg district families and the public are invited to a re-opening reception on Jan. 22.
Light refreshments will be offered and professional storyteller Alan Irvine will entertain with a one-hour’s worth of family friendly stories.
Library employees and district officials will offer mini-presentations on the renovation project.
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Reviewcontributing writer.