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Librarian transforms school library into exciting, interactive learning space

Librarian transforms school library into exciting, interactive learning space (ABC7)

What you hear and see in this Fredricksburg middle school library isn't what you'd expect.

"I think it's really cool and fun," 7th Grader Brooke Raynes told ABC7 News.

Kian Gilhousen, 12, was equally as enthusiastic.

"It's kind of hard to believe that it's a library. It's more like an activity room," he described.

The man behind the creative concept is Nathan Sekinger; an English teacher turned librarian.

"We're trying to attract students in and get them to come and be excited about our space," Sekinger explained.

The 13-year educator is highly regarded at T. Benton Gayle Middle School for bringing project-based learning to the library. He calls it a makerspace.

"Students are making their learning and they often do that through making it visible," Sekinger stated.

There is a ping-pong table, video games, student-crafted activities like golf and cornhole. 3D printers allow students to create things like cell phone cases and fidget spinners; projects that emphasize mathematics, engineering and design.

Students aren't only excited about the spaces in the library, they're also excited about Sekinger.

"I think he's awesome. He's so much nicer than most of the librarians I've met," 13-year-old Shaelan Grace McKinney stated.

The Virginia Association of School Librarians recently named Sekinger Librarian of the Year; an honor that came with a trophy and $500.

"Hopefully, it's a reflection of where we want to go as a state to making libraries more interactive and more personal for students," Sekinger said.

When Sekinger isn't working as a librarian at Benton Gayle Middle, he teaches English at a nearby community college.

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