Libraries have been coming up a lot for me lately! Firstly, at school I spent a couple of afternoons moving our library into a room off our hall, to make way for our rapid student growth. I'm actually a little jealous, as now our library is home to two of our new entrant classes and it makes a wonderful collaborative space. In the short term, our library will be housed in our drama room. Meanwhile, we are looking at creative ways of keeping our library as a hub in our school. Stay tuned!
Then in the holidays, I visited the new library that has been built in Lincoln, a community about ten minutes away and part of our Selwyn Council network of libraries. I loved the space and creative use of furniture. The day I visited, the library was buzzing with members of the community involved in various activities. ( See slideshow below.)
My mother is now a primary school librarian, having spent the majority of her career as a high school librarian. She passed on to me the latest issue of " Collected" magazine, the magazine of the School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa. This issue focuses on modern learning environments, the role and place of the library and librarian.
So I felt that the universe was sending me a sign that it is about time for a library post!
After reading through the " Collected" issue it became apparent that librarians and libraries are facing major challenges. They are looking at a major redefinition of their role and place within education. I thought I would summarise the main messages, though recommend reading the whole magazine here if you wish.
Lisa Salter, Communications Leader had this to say; "I can be a librarian wherever I am, I don't need a library to identify myself. A traditional librarian was connected to a place, librarian = library. Now a library is a state of mind; physical, digital, social, communal. Adapting has become one of our specialties." As many schools ponder the need for a traditional library space, Salter points out that schools without libraries are in even more need of an experienced librarian. " An MLE must enable itself to provide modern approaches to inquiry learning and in doing so must rely on advice from information professionals in planning and practice."
Bridget Schaumann, SLANZA President urges schools to make their libraries spaces for literacy, discovery and inquiry. Paula Eskett and Janet McFadden of National Library encourage rethinking restrictive practices, what has been "always done" and putting user's needs first. They urge schools to develop MLLE's ( Modern Learning Library Environments) where "print and digital resources meet…..creating user driven, proactive, constantly evolving participatory spaces that support and reflect the education world all educators are now part of."
Quoting the fabulous Christian Long - "The focus of innovative learning spaces is never about the building. It's what the building enables users to do."
Mark Osborne of Core Education outlines ways in which libraries are evolving - service centres for digital citizenship and information literacy, gallery spaces, community hubs and storehouses for valuable resources. He challenges schools to ask, "How might the library act as a 'third place' to provide unique, compelling and engaging experiences for staff, students and community that aren't offered elsewhere."
How is your school using their library? How do we ensure that we maintain all the tradtional "good" things that libraries brought to education, while developing them into vibrant, vital, flexible hubs of learning?
My name is Ngaire Shepherd-Wills. This website is a record of my TeachNZ sabbatical, Term 2, 2013 and then I have continued to share my wonderings and discoveries about Innovative Learning Practices. I now work for CORE Education. Views are my own.