My library is a place that I have worked very hard to make into an engaging space for the students and teachers at my school. Royal Oaks Elementary is open concept. We do not have any physical walls in our learning center space. Classrooms are blocked off using dividers, book shelves and imagination. The library is truly the center of the school with all of the classroom areas encircling it. In the 10 years I have been teacher-librarian here, I have completely revamped the space and I am finally almost happy with it. The library serves multiple functions and I have tried to design it as such. I have a teaching area that is used for my classes, after school clubs and professional development sessions. That area has tables, chairs, a smart board and technology. I have an area that is used for small group activities that has access to the Chromebooks labs, printers and the book collection. I also have two soft seating areas for students who wish to come in to simply read for enjoyment or for teachers who want to conference with students in a less structured environment. In addition to these areas, there is also a hard-wired computer lab within the library for projects that require more processing capabilities or memory than the Chromebooks provide. I try to provide a wide variety of spaces and resources to students and teachers to make the area engaging and to meet their needs – both instructionally and personally.
My big takeaway from the article that we read and our assignment this week is that it does not matter how beautifully designed a space is, if it does not meet the needs of the user it is not space well used. Additionally I was reminded how important flexibility of use is. I will keep that in mind as I continue to reframe the way I look at the library space. The next re-envision of my space is the addition of a MakerSpace area. My learning in this assignment has really made me see that as we move forward with this project, the needs of the teachers and students of my building really need to be the driving force behind that space and what it becomes.
Mishra, P., Cain, W., Sawaya, S., Henriksen, D. & the Deep-Play Research Group (2013). A Room of their own. Tech Trends, (57) 4. p. 5-9.