The Heart of a Texas School Campus

The School Library

A college preparatory school, accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, Trinity School of Midland, Texas serves students from preschool through Grade 12. The school is currently undergoing major renovations to its campus. The facility that was once the library will soon be a fine arts center. The building that once housed the school's administration offices will soon be a new library space.The library building sits in the middle of the preschool/Lower School portion of the campus, and staff at Trinity School like to think that it will soon be the heart of all they do.

The Challenge

Patricia and her team wanted the new school library to be spectacular. Finding furniture that was contemporary, functional, durable and pleasing to young children was their mission. “We wanted things to look good, but we also wanted to be sure that we were wisely investing our money,” noted Patricia.

The Connection

Trinity began to research companies that specialize in building contemporary, functional and aesthetically pleasing library spaces for young children. Patricia Googled “innovative library designs” and quickly found that Opening the Book had the mix they were looking for. Several things about Opening the Book appealed to them, including the modular design of the furniture, the availability of vibrant colors and the durability ratings of the products. All Opening the Book Furniture features a 25 Year Warranty.

On January 30th2017 Patricia contacted the Opening the Book office to request a design concept for their space. This request was urgent as they had a board meeting in just one week and were hoping to have some supporting collateral in hand to captivate the board as well as to manage project cost expectations. Opening the Book quickly returned a right-sized design concept for their space that considered important elements such as the maximum number of children in the room at a time, other intended uses of the space such as programs or parent teacher meetings and the direction of foot traffic into the space. Opening the Book also connected Trinity with a local Texas dealer partner, Craig Tappe, of Vance Hunt Libraries.  VHL’s team would handle all the logistics of making sure the delivery, design, and installation would go off without a hitch.

The Design

Opening the Book Library Designer, Megan Fink, chuckled as she ended her first phone call with Patricia. “The client said she’d have traditional straight rows of shelving in her new library over her dead body!” Patricia was serious about cultivating a space for her students that would be jaw-dropping and so Megan set to work to fulfill Patricia’s vision; a mix of function, joyful pops of color and sensational features sure to fascinate young readers.

When children think their reading space is exciting it will create a buzz about books and reading. In addition to fixed perimeter wall shelving, Megan included exciting propeller configurations instead of traditional stacks to give the space a modern airy feeling as well as encouraging children’s exploration of the space. For an additional splash of excitement colorful seating, book display and fascinating feature pieces were added to the space and neutral colors were proposed for the bookshelves so as not to compete with colorful book covers, which are the real stars of the library.

The Furniture

BookSpace Shelving was chosen for the Trinity lower library because it presents books so positively to grades K-5. The Bookspace shelving system principle is to ensure that the books look good, whatever their size and shape. Everything about Opening the Book shelving is designed to make school library books look visually attractive so students want to pick them up and read. Each shelf is tipped up to the eye of the child standing in front so the books are clearly seen. Face-out display shelves are also built into each wall shelving unit as an extra bonus to make the books tempting. Mobile Curved Bookcases were used in the center of the library for maximum future flexibility in the space.

Storage Seats and Picture book displays were added to a section of the Trinity space to ensure that books for even the youngest readers were displayed at just the right eyeline and look great too.

As a timeless finishing touch, the Book Tree display was added for as whimsical focal point to the space.

Trinity chose furniture pieces with island green and plum accents to ensure space was bright, light and welcoming to young children.

The Experience

“Our librarian is thrilled and the favored activity of every child is peeking in the windows of the facility to assess the daily progress.”

“Opening the Book and Vance Hunt Libraries made this process so easy for us. Their original design options for the space helped to inform our initial choices, both in terms of the layout of the facility, but also in terms of working within our budget. VHL’s trip to Midland was the icing on the cake as he listened to our librarian, measured and re-measured the space and gave us every confidence that the pieces we selected will make the best possible use of the space. We never felt pressured at any point in the process, rather we felt supported. We can't wait for installation. I was especially appreciative of the fact that payment is not due until the furniture is installed and we are satisfied. That is 'old fashioned' customer service, something you don't find often in today's market, and well worth celebrating. We are able to complete this project because of the generous donations of school patrons and, consequently, it is comforting to know that we are working with a company who wants us to get good value for our money.” -- Patricia A. Maurer, Head of Preschool and Lower School