Clear Lake student helped design Clear Creek library renovations | Mason City & North Iowa


Clear Creek Elementary School - renovated library - reading area

Students at Clear Creek Elementary School in Clear Lake sit in the recently renovated library for story time on Tuesday.

Lisa Grouette

It’s not a common thing for a student to say they’ve designed a part of their school.

Sixth-grader Berkley Eden, however, can brag about the fact she helped design the library remodel at Clear Creek Elementary School. 

Clear Creek Elementary School was in need of a redesign of its library, which had never been updated before, according to Principal Sally Duesenberg.

“The process (of renovating) started last year when we were talking about a remodel. It hadn’t been updated and it was original 1998, so it was time,” said Dusenberg.

Duesenberg said it was suggested to her about having a library design challenge in the “Makerspace,” which is in a side room connected to the library, where students learn about building and practice STEM skills. The design challenge was for fifth grade students and was voted on by class peers.

Clear Creek Elementary School - renovated library - coding girls

Clear Creek first-grade students (L-R) Jayden, Harmony, Huttyn, and Reese work on a STEM-based coding exercise in a study room inside the newly renovated library on Tuesday.

Lisa Grouette

Emily Hill, Clear Lake’s innovations specialist, said students used Tinkercad, a 3D modeling program, to create 3D models of their dream library.

“This challenge was to redesign the library and based on the different sections that we needed,” said Hill. “We wanted a comfy seating area, we needed a reading nook. We obviously needed tables for meetings and then the bookshelves. The kids knew what had to be in there and then they just had to design it.”

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“I kind of wished that there were more spaces in between the tables because I never had enough room,” said Eden. “A lot better chairs because I didn’t like the chairs.”

Clear Creek Elementary School - renovated library - coding

A group of Clear Creek Elementary students take part in a STEM-based coding activity in a study room inside the library on Tuesday.

Lisa Grouette

Eden had an idea in her head of what she wanted with her dream library space and received some assistance with family members. Hill said there were six final designs for students to vote on but Eden’s won by a landslide.

“Most of my friends just said I’ll vote for you, just tell me what design,” said Eden.

Eden went on to present her winning design to Superintendent Doug Gee, going over where each piece of the library should be. Hill, who was in the room when Eden presented, said she detailed each part and design details.

“(Gee) asked some really good questions about things in relation to other things, like do you think this reading nook would be a good idea right here,” said Hill.

Duesenberg consulted with Eden for picking colors and how certain features would work within the library. Duesenberg said the remodel process started during early May and was being wrapped up this week with the books going back on the shelf. Graphic decals will be added to the walls of the library later on.

“It’s been fun, even though it’s come in stages. It’s been fun to see it all actually in its spot and now when we get all of the books unpacked is when the fun really starts,” said Duesenberg.

“It’s really exciting just to finally see the furniture in here. I am really looking forward to teachers getting out of their classroom, bringing their kids in here,” said Hill.

Eden saw the newly renovated room for the first time on Tuesday and said it was “really cool” to see the final product. The library will be open for parents to view during parent teacher conferences next week.

Abby covers education and public safety for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at


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