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"We shared our Dream Big project with the company, Opening the Book. They gave us their full attention and set to work on a library design that has literally made our big dreams come true!”—Karey Killian, Library Media Specialist at Milton Area School District

A Dream Library for Baugher Elementary School

The School Library

The James Baugher Elementary School, located in rural north central Pennsylvania, is part of the Milton Public School district.  The school librarian, Karey Killian divides her time between Baugher Elementary and two additional elementary schools in the district.  

In the summer of 2018 Karey started her search for a company to provide quotes on simply replacing her library’s existing shelving.  The current shelving was worn, dark and drab and did not create an engaging environment that supported Karey’s exciting, new curriculum at the school.

The Challenge

“I like to think big. As our shelving started to age, I started planning a new library space with no real guarantee of funding. I challenged my students to get involved, research products, and even created Flipgrid videos to present their proposals for a new physical space. It was the students who were adamant about including cushioned seating areas for leisure reading, school colors, and even a special reading area to memorialize a fellow student” said Karey.

During the planning process, Karey also had to deal with flooding issues and mold at the school. Much of the shelving and books were damaged and would need replaced.

The Connection

With the added flooding and mold issues, Karey was determined to clean out and update the library for the students. She researched furniture companies and found Opening the Book North America online. She was shocked to find out that their main office is only 20 minutes from her school.  She contacted them and the Opening the Book design team visited the library and gained an understanding of the specific needs for the space.

The Design

Karey wanted mobile bookcases for the middle of the space so she could move them out of the way for library events. She wanted room for the collection to grow so wall shelving would be needed as well. Shelving would need to be the right height for elementary age students and Karey loved the idea of incorporating the school’s colors. The students requested cushioned seating and wanted a special reading corner to memorialize a student. The Opening the Book design team took these needs/requests into account as they created layout options for the library at Baugher Elementary School.

“We shared our Dream Big project with the company, Opening the Book. They gave us their full attention and set to work on a library design that has literally made our big dreams come true!”—Karey Killian, Library Media Specialist at Milton Area School District

The Furniture

The Opening the Book design team created a library layout that incorporated mobile bookcases mid-floor to allow the space to adapt, wall shelving, a special corner for younger students that includes picture book displays, soft seating, and a hideout, as well as feature units mid-floor like the rocket pod and book pod. There would also be a new circulation desk placed near the entrance for Karey.

All shelving would be the appropriate height for elementary age students. Also, all products would be color-coordinated using the school colors, and the reading corner archway would include graphics to memorialize a fellow student that passed away.

Karey was excited that Opening the Book could meet the needs of her space and worked to secure the funding needed for the project.  She accomplished her goal and was able to order all of the items in time for a May 2019 delivery and installation.

Karey commented that “There are lots of features we love! The students love the built-in seating features and are excited for their turn to use the Reading Hideout! Library staff love that the top display shelves allow us to showcase lots of face-out books without cluttering up the tops of the bookcases. Plus, the custom bookcase signage adds a really professional touch!”

The Outcome


“The new library is so much brighter, and the mobile bookcases make the library so much more flexible! We can easily transition the library for events, and it is so much easier to clean! We’ve created such a wonderful, relaxed space and the students really use every part of it.”

Karey Killian, Library Media Specialist at Milton Area School District

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