Q&A With Library Staff

Anna Zeek and Abigail Guadnola

Three weeks into the school year and the wait for the students and staff is over. Arapahoe’s remodeled library opened at 7 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 8. Before the students were able to rush into the library and gush over the new features such as the snack bar and the study rooms, three employees watched from their office, anxiously awaiting the reactions of the students. Listed below are a few questions that we asked Tracy Murphy, Librarian, Karl Fisch, Director of Technology, and Karla Brachtenbach, Librarian Assistant.


Q: What are you looking forward to most about the library?

Tracy Murphy: “I think that for all three of us that it is the kids.”


Q: Obviously, when looking at the new library, all of it is new — but what is the biggest change in your opinion?

Murphy: “The study rooms and the food and drink area but really, the study rooms are the focal point in a lot of ways.”


Q: For the study rooms, do you think that students will only use those during finals week, or when they have bigger projects that they need to complete?

Murphy: “I think that students would use them all of the time in order to review, and like you said to complete projects.”

Karl Fisch: “I am sure that there will times when the rooms are busier than others like during finals but the hope is throughout the semester that as you always have things to do and talk about them and while you can talk in a library, there comes a certain point when there is too many of you and it gets to be too loud so now we have a place where students can go and can get things done. There is a big table, a whiteboard, and a big monitor that students can plug their laptops into.”

Karla Brachtenbach: “I think that the one thing that we learned from visiting other schools was that over and over we heard about being able to serve a lot of different needs and I think that we addressed that here.”


Q: Where will the quotes go in the library once they have been recorded from students’ emails?

Fisch: “We do not know yet and it is even possible that once we get them, that we will decide not to use them. Basically we would put the quotes anywhere there is wall space.”

Murphy: “Somewhere in the library, there is going to be a way that the major donors are going to be recognized, so that will take up some space.”


Q: Why did you let the students and staff choose the quotes and the names of the study room for the library?

Fisch: “It is a space for all students and staff so it did not make sense that the three of us or the larger committee which had student representation should decide that; it just did not make sense.”

Murphy: “Hopefully some of the quotes and names will stick out and then it might even be the type of thing where we will send them out again to students and staff to vote for which ones that they like best. It also builds ownership, as [students and staff] are beginning to reflect and put their stamp on the place.”


Q: What are you looking forward to most this year?

Brachtenbach: “[The students] reclaiming their space and that is important to me. I am going to retire at the end of the year and that is one reason why I wanted to come back, was to make sure that [the students] reclaimed this place.”


Q: Mr. Fisch, What does it feel like for your office to be changed from being in the north hallway to inside of the library?

Fisch: “It is just different space. In a lot of ways, I have less space. Before I could pile my belongings up in my old office and in here, I cannot; however, there is a storage room in the back that looks messy right now but we are still moving in. In a lot of ways I will have less space but it is also better because I spend a lot of time in the library anyway and this is the logical place to be for my position.”


Q: What has been the most challenging thing about the whole process overall as dates were pushed back, etc?

Fisch: “There were multiple challenges, one of which was the timeline and it was an extremely short timeline. I mean the fact that we got it finished this early is incredible and it is a tribute to all of the construction firms that worked on it as most did it for much lower prices than normal and put [the library] ahead of other people in order to get it done and they put in a lot of long hours.”

Brachtenbach: “Mike Schneider was [working on the library] all of the time and he said that he put his heart and soul into this place and that really touched me.”

Fisch: “If you or your family have ever had construction done at your house, then you realize that there are tons of frustrations and that there are things that you did not anticipate, and things that you did anticipate, but then things got changed along the way.


Q: Have you all adjusted to the layout of the library?

Fisch: “I do not think that we will adjust until we get kids in here because up until now, it has been simply putting stuff where it belongs. Until we get students in here and see how they use it, as we think we know how they are going to use it but until we get feedback, we can then make the adjustments.”

Murphy: “As I have seen the library in its final stages, it has a college-like feel to it and it has a different feeling than the previous library. It can also seem deceptive in its size until you walk across it, and we have been told that it is about 10,000 square feet which is 3,000 square feet more than the old library.

Fisch: “The new library reclaimed my office, the bookroom, the old computer lab, classroom N13 and the editing room.”