Making Over an Existing Space: Barclay Elementary School

Suzanne Shearman was feeling the need to re-energize her library for the students of Barclay Elementary School in Brockport, NY when she approached DEMCO Interiors through the company’s $10,000 Room Makeover Contest. She submitted a plan to bring “a more welcoming, kid-friendly” vibe to her library. This project provided the DEMCO Interiors design team with the challenge of creating an inviting age- and size-appropriate library environment for the school’s second- and third-grade students on a small budget.

The Barclay School was built in the 1950s, and the most recent update to the library had taken place in 1993 when the carpet was replaced and the black steel shelving was painted white. Homemade banners provided signage for book collections, and the space still had the original, well-worn wood tables and chairs. Bean bag seating and a colorful area rug had been added in the mid-1990s and were obviously well loved.


Suzanne had made the decision that she wanted to focus on updating the reading and activity area of her library. Working together, the design team and Suzanne decided to rearrange her Fiction and Easy Reader shelving to open the space up a little. Colorful end panels provide students with visual cues regarding the section they are in. The brushed laminate end panels with maple trim create a clean, modern look. Professional, coordinating overhead signage helps students find their favorite books.

Suzanne also took the opportunity to declutter some of the areas of the library and rethought how the space was working overall. To allow additional space for tables, one of the hexagonal computer centers was relocated to another part of the library, providing a much more open area for activities to occur.


To create a more lively space, the team decided to use bright plastic chairs in a range of reds and oranges and tables with matching trim. This contemporary styling reflects a modern, European-inspired design that is more ergonomically correct for the students using them. The tables are lighter weight and easier to reconfigure as needed. The casual reading nook now features soft, comfortable chairs and a bright rug that incorporates learning and adds a pop of color, pulling the space together.


Suzanne and the students of Barclay Elementary were quite pleased with their “new” space and were able to start the school year with a fresh look. The end result was a more flexible and visually appealing space that really draws students and staff in.


Janet Nelson

Janet Nelson

Janet is the former Director of Library Engagement and Solutions at Demco. She managed and developed relationships with key industry leaders to understand changing library trends and services.