Galt High begins its first library renovation since opening in 1911

The new undated Galt High library.
The new undated Galt High library.
Josh Cullers

Galt High School this month has begun the first renovations to its library since the school’s founding in 1911.

One of the biggest aspects of the transformation has been weeding out old books, Galt High School principal Kellie Beck said.

“The library since we’ve opened has not been revamped,” Beck said. “We’ve just been collecting books on the shelf, but there’s not been a weeding process. Obviously over time, you can imagine books get old and deteriorate and they need to be pulled from the library.”

Through partnering with the Follett School Solutions, GHS staff have been able to weed out or clear from the inventory more than 4,000 books, Beck said.

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“At the time, we had about 9,000 or so books,” Beck said. “Then (Follett) went through all the books… (and) determined that almost 100% of the books needed to go. But that does not make sense to completely get rid of all those books. So we just decided if (books are) over 20 years (old)… then we would get rid of them. We went through and weeded out about 5,000 books.”

With a removal of a large selection of books, there is a plan in place to rebuild the library’s stock, Beck said.

“Right now the goal is to get more books,” Beck said. “So we’ll use money that we get from the site or money we have allotted to the library to get more books. That will be a process  over time to replenish it with things that kids will want to see.”

Beyond removing older books, the library is also going to be refurnished to better adapt to a modern learning environment.

“There should be couches in there,” Beck said. “There should be places (where) kids can sit … and little areas where kids could have study groups and do stuff, but (where) everything’s on wheels so you can change it around.”

The changes hopefully will encourage students to make more use of the library as a resource and space to actively study, said Galt High librarian Beth Siegalkoff.

“I like this (new design) better because it resembles Liberty Ranch (High),” Siegalkoff said. “It resembles that as far as wide open spaces, and I know that’s the up-and-coming thing to do.”

Even with the culling of thousands of books, the library remains a place to find not just entertainment, but truth, Siegalkoff said.

“My concern was when they got to the history of it,” Siegalkoff said. “Because the old history is the truth. You don’t get that online because I get somebody’s opinion when they’re rewriting. We have books in here that are ancient, over 100 years old. You can always go to a public library to get the truth.”

The renovated library will help students succeed and encourage them to work harder, said Galt High English teacher Jonathan Jonas.

He added, “I think that open spaces are more inviting. I like that when you’re now sitting in the middle of that room that it feels more open because they took away all those, like, larger stacked areas. It just feels less old. I think we’re making progress in the right direction.”

Some freshmen are eager to see the completed renovations.

“I am excited,” Annalise Bowman said. “Changes to the library might bring more people to come and hang out at the library. Once everything’s done, I plan on visiting even more.”

With all these steps in the right direction, Siegalkoff said the library is going to better serve the younger generation.

“I want to leave this place as good as I found it,” she said. “So if this is part of it, then that’s what we’re gonna do.”


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