Project: P.S. 69
Location: Bronx, New York
Architect: Richard H. Lewis Architect
BCI Products: 60/30 Classic Steel Shelving System
Original Post: Urban Omnibus, Robin Hood Library at Bronx P.S. 69
Here is an excerpt from the Urban Omnibus article:
That power is palpable in the P.S. 69 Library. Each of the libraries is beautiful. And each is, in the words of Richard Lewis, “its own little world” that attests in its own way to the stated goals of the initiative: to redefine the mission of the library as a resource for the entire school community; to rebuild the library with new design standards and unique imagery; to replenish the library with new books and technology; to retrain school staff to make full use of the library; and to reassess the impact of the school library to track progress and impact. What sets the P.S. 69 library apart is the way its location within the school makes manifest the priority the school places on reading and learning.
When Principal Cohen arrived at P.S. 69 seven years ago, he found a failing school on the verge of being taken over by the state. He immediately set about changing the school’s culture and raising student achievement. Siddiqi writes: “Displacing his own office and those of the rest of the administration, he advocated situating the library in a horseshoe plan around the stair at the main entrance to the school. Students walking into the building must enter up ‘through’ the library to the main floor, forcing them to confront the spectacle of the library coming in, going out, and passing through.” The library opened one year ago. It certainly inspires the imagination to run wild. And it inspires belief in the transformative possibility of making a principle – that reading and learning are central to student achievement and therefore central to increasing economic opportunity – no longer exclusively symbolic.
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