The public has an outside entrance, and the school has an inside entrance. The main area of the library houses the circulation desk and the adult collection (fiction, non-fiction, biography, video and audio). There is a separate children's room and a separate young adult room which is about 600 square feet. In addition, there is a meeting room, a tutoring room, several storage areas, and two offices, one for the public library director and one for me and my assistant. My office is in the process of becoming the school's project room/makerspace. I'll post more on that later.
Our library is part of a three-county regional library system, so we share our collection with eight other libraries. This has advantages and disadvantages. When one of our teachers needs multiple copies of a title, I am usually able to round up quite a few just by pulling from other branches. However, high-interest new books purchased by the school for our students also go out to patrons in other counties so may not be available to our students when they want them. We have the largest collection of YA fiction in the region, but also the largest collection of young adult patrons, so it probably balances out. One problem is that I can't really tell. Because our circulation system was established with the shared collection, books owned by the public library and books owned by the high school aren't separated in the system, making it difficult to obtain circulation data.
STAFF and POLICIES
I'm the high school media coordinator and have a full-time media assistant. The public library has a full-time library director and a full-time children's librarian, along with several part-time and substitute library assistants. There are usually 2-3 public library staff members in the library during the school day. They help with circulation and reader's advisory when I am not available.
The regional office handles cataloging and some of the processing. They would prefer that I not make any changes to the way they have entered the records. To make changes, I am supposed to send the books to them via courier.
Students are bound by most of the regional library policies, such as circulation times, renewal limits, and fee accrual. Because the county library director understands the unique needs of our students, she allows some flexibility for them regarding ability to check out books when fines are owed or when books are overdue.
One of the main advantages of sharing our space is the ease of collaboration between the school and the library. Teachers are able to easily converse with the public library director. For example, the art teachers are able to coordinate student displays during their planning periods. Resource requests are quickly addressed, such as when the Friends of the Library provided a set of books for a book club one of our English teachers started this semester. Students help with the semi-annual library book sale and some of the holiday events. The Friends have a college scholarship that students who have been active at the library can apply for. I am currently working with the public library to develop a database of community volunteers who can speak or provide special programming in our school or in the library, and a Teen Library Council representative will be attending Friends of the Library and Library Board meetings.
We are gradually shifting from a traditional school library to a learning commons with a small makerspace. Students regularly come into the library to work on group projects or videos. During our new Smart Lunch (CANES Lunch), we often have more than fifty students in here. They behave very well, but that many teenagers can be overwhelming for some of the public library's elderly patrons. The number of complaints has been going down as the students get used to this privilege, and we frequently hear compliments! I am working on inventorying the high school book collection and the catalogers are making formal notes so that the next time we change circulation systems, the high school collection can be set up as a virtual branch. That will make it much easier for me to analyse data and to properly complete the annual report the state requires, as well as to set separate policies for the students and staff.