Book by book, the Neosho High School’s newly remodeled library is nearing completion.

Book by book, the Neosho High School’s newly remodeled library is nearing completion.

While the library received a summertime renovation, its contents were moved to storage and to a makeshift library in the high school auditorium.
Now that construction crews have gone, NHS librarian Don Bright is busy readying the new library for student use.

However, moving a high school library is no easy task, as evidenced by the hundreds of boxes that had formed piles in the library by Friday morning.

“We’ve got probably 20,000 books here,” Bright said. “That’s not counting everything else.”

With the help of his fellow librarians in the Neosho R-5 district, Bright plans to reshelve the thousands of books, move the audio/visual equipment and unpack the library’s decor in time for a library open house, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 17.

Once the work is complete, Bright says the refinished library should serve as a more inviting space for students.

“One of the reasons they wanted to do this library was to have a really open, inviting place for students to come in,” Bright said. “It’s more open and we’ll have more technology. With more computers they’ll be able to do more, and not just the students, but the teachers can do more in here as well.”

The library renovation, performed by crews from Branco Enterprises, Inc., cost the district $598,500, while the furniture and shelving came with an additional $148,667 price tag.

The Neosho R-5 school board approved the project with the goal of creating a library with a more spacious, modern feel.  

With a large, open entrance to the library, surrounded on both sides of the door by glass windows, students walking in the hallway can’t help but see inside.

Once inside, the library offers two conference or collaboration rooms on the south end, drop ceilings, a casual seating area, high top tables with attached lamps, two computer areas and a fireplace.

Bright said he sees the new library as taking a step forward.

“I want to see this as a 21st century library,” Bright said.

Prior to the remodel, the library offered 30 desktop computers for student use, which Bright said were purchased by the Neosho R-5 School District Charitable Foundation eight years ago.

In the new library, students will not only have new computers, but the number will more than double.

Bright says the space will now include 66 computers, as well as a cart of iPads.

“In the future I’d really like to incorporate e-readers and things like that,” Bright said.

For now, Bright is focused on getting the remodeled space ready for students. He said students seem pleased with the library’s new look so far.
“I know that some are really anxious,” Bright said, “They see this and they’re just, ‘wow.’”

The library’s open house, which is open to the general public, is scheduled from 5 until 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, prior to the Neosho R-5 School board meeting set for 7 p.m. that evening.