Friday, July 15, 2016

Why a Learning Commons?

I have been a librarian for seven years now. Our titles change yearly, sometimes daily. Media coordinator, media specialist, teacher librarian, school library media coordinator. It's easier just to tell people I am a librarian. My littles at school just call me "Libeary Girl." I have noticed when I start talking to people outside of the education realm about what it is that I actually do their eyes start glazing over. They think I buy books, check them out keep the library in order and shush people all day. Some people think I get to read all today. To myself. Haha! That's hilarious. 

Just as libraries are changing, so are the jobs of librarians. I just read the best article about turning your library into a learning commons. I could have written this article because it is filled with 100% of my thoughts about our new learning commons at WMES. My favorite quote from the article is, "In addition to transforming the physical space, I have made a consistent and continued effort with my teachers to show them that I am not just a resource librarian but a true instructional partner."  This is my number one thought! Yes, I am working on creating a new, student-centered environment, but I want teachers to use me! Use my skills! LET ME HELP YOU!!! I want to be an instructional partner, and I have so many ideas of how to incorporate informational skills and technology into every grade level's curriculum. 

So...what is a learning commons?  Carol Koechlin and David Loertscher are both considered leaders in the push for the learning commons model in libraries of all kinds, and they define a learning commons as a "physical and virtual space" that helps today's learners engage in more meaningful ways through "exploration, experimentation, and collaboration" (p. 15). I wanted to create a friendly, open environment that can be used by more than just one group of students. I asked my students last year what they would like to see changed about the media center. The majority of them said they would like to be able to check out more than one book a week and be able to come to the library MORE. My heart melted! There will be different areas in the library set up for student usage and learning. Lots of places for students and teachers to collaborate. 

It's not going to happen overnight, and this transition may span over more than one school year, but I am up for the challenge, and I am EXCITED!

If you get a chance, read this article. It explains it in much better terms!

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