SYLACAUGA -- Indian Valley Elementary School’s library has gotten a facelift to update it to the 21st Century with help from the community.

“Through summer maintenance in the school system, we had new carpet installed and all the walls were repainted,” said Monte Abner, Indian Valley Elementary School principal.

Abner said fundraising efforts last school year allowed the computer lab to be moved to the library and upgraded to a wireless system.

“We built our atrium in the library up to a stage to provide opportunities for a reading loft in the library, as well as a small technology hub for iPads and other technology,” he said. “We can also use it for small programs such as plays, speech presentations and more.”

Thursday, Scott Simpson, manager of the engineering department for Madix, a Goodwater company that manufactures store fixtures, was helping unload donated shelving and other supplies.

“Madix is a giving company,” Simpson said. “We are contacted by various organizations for shelving such as goodwill shelves at churches. We have donated to Pinecrest Elementary School and Nichols-Lawson Middle School in the past, which is how Monte contacted us.”

Simpson said Madix owner Walter Dowdle approved 48 feet of perimeter wall shelving and 36 feet of gondola shelving with wood countertops to go in the middle of the library.

“We also donated 20 computer work stations,” he said. “I’ve been with Madix for 28 years, and they are a very good community partner. Big department stores are our main customers, but we help the smaller community organizations too.”

Abner said in the coming weeks they are also transforming a small storage space into a parent-teacher resource center with two or three computers.

“That way parents can access their child’s grades and do additional research,” he said. “We also plan to buy a 70-inch interactive flat panel to use for small group instruction in the library by our media specialist.”

Abner said the school secured a $6,000 grant from the Sylacauga City Schools Foundation which will enable them to install an LCD projector with a large screen and sound, as well as 15 iPads for student use in the library and teachers’ use in the classroom.

“We also secured a $1,000 grant from the Sylacauga City Schools Foundation to purchase new books,” he said.

Abner said this is the beginning stages of turning the library into a 21st Century media center that will not only serve the students but be a great asset to the community.

“Our media specialist, Michelle Kimber, is taking the lead in heading technology in our school,” he said. “The Parent Teacher Organization president, Tanya Jackson, will be working with us to foster stronger school/community partnerships and create opportunities for parents in the community to take advantage of the opportunities the media center will provide. We are very thankful for the Sylacauga City Schools Foundation support, Madix, the PTO, the Board of Education, our faculty and staff and everyone who helped make this possible.”

Sylacauga City Schools Superintendent Todd Freeman said the renovated library provides students with a 21st Century environment where technology resources enhance their learning experiences.

“It also has an information center to assist and support our parents,” he said. “Our mission to meet the learning needs of our students in relevant ways is represented well in the new look. I commend Mr. Abner and the staff at Indian Valley for the vision to make this happen."

It's the first major overhaul in the library since the school was built in the early 1980s.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at