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GBHS librarian collecting items for new work area
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Great Bend High School Librarian Emily Mulch is shown with some of the recycled items she is collecting for a markerspace. - photo by Susan Thacker

Stacks of reference books in the back corner of the Great Bend High School Library will soon find a new purpose, Librarian Emily Mulch said. She plans to recycle volumes such as “Contemporary Literary Criticism” and “The United States Code” that can now be found online. The section of the library that houses these hefty tomes now looks like a small recycling center, of sorts.

There are bins filled with cardboard tubes from rolls of paper towels or toilet paper and other items that Mulch is collecting for a future makerspace.

A makerspace is a collaborate work area for making, learning, exploring and sharing. It’s a location with readily-available materials for making things. There are hi-tech makerspaces, but Mulch said most students are already very good with technology and there are plenty of opportunities to learn more. In fact, when the school board met at the library last week, GBHS student Aaron Stein demonstrated a computer program he’d written to direct a robotic ball around a pre-set course in the room.

“Sometimes they need to put away their phones and do a jigsaw puzzle,” Mulch said. The library has a table where they can do that, too.

For the makerspace, she plans to invite GBHS teachers to think about projects their students can work on that tie into current lessons.

“Next year we hope every teacher in the building will have a project,” Mulch said. “It’s fun, but you learn all kinds of things about physics and math.”

The public is invited to bring some items for this space, Mulch said. Empty cereal boxes and plastic bottles, rubber bands and even wine corks might find new uses, along with the cardboard tubes. Although she doesn’t want to become a community recycling center, she would welcome a few items. People can bring them to the office at the high school or send Mulch an email at

“I can’t wait to see what the students make,” she said.