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Coniston school unveils 21st century library: Books, but also a 3D printer

And don't worry, École Notre-Dame de la Merci's library still has its beloved castle

Grade 7 École Notre-Dame de la Merci student Zoe Booth said she loves visiting her school's library now that it has been renovated and outfitted with 21st century technology.

“It's more modern, and it feels bigger, and it's brighter,” she said, speaking to after a May 8 press conference where she helped board officials cut the ribbon on the revamped space at the French Catholic JK-8 Coniston school.

“Before it was more closed in, and it was more a dim place, and there wasn't as much technology.

“I think it'll help people's education, because sometimes you don't feel like doing stuff on paper anymore. I think technology is just a new way.”

Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario (CSCNO) is revamping all of its libraries, spending at least $25,000 on each project, with schools kicking in extra funds in some cases.

Renovations have already been done at 21 schools, and two more will be finished in the next academic year.

The library at École Notre-Dame de la Merci received a fresh coat of paint, and features new furniture, including tables with dry-erase surfaces that students can write on, as well as beanbag chairs for reading.

While there's still plenty of books — and new ones have been added — students can also take advantage of iPads to do research and even use the school's own 3D printer. A smartboard is up on the wall for presentations.

The space may have received a facelift, but fans of the library's beloved wooden castle shouldn't worry — it's still there. 

In case you're wondering why there's a castle, it relates to the fact that kids attending École Notre-Dame de la Merci are “knights.”

“The basic use of the library will always be reading, will always be books,” said the school's principal, Yves Vaillancourt.

“But with the new generation of students, books are still important — kids love to read — but you have to also have the technology, because that's what they use daily.”

As for the 3D printer, he's hoping having the technology in the school's library will give his students an edge as they progress with their education.

“It's a good transition to high school, because they have them (there) now, they use them now,” Vaillancourt said.

Nicole Sonier, CSCNO's executive director of learning, said the students love the revamped library spaces.

“They're more engaged,” she said. “They actually want to come to the library now. Teachers bring their classroom to the library to do different projects. It's actually an extension of the classroom. That's what we wanted.”


Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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