I recently attended a workshop titled "Library as Learning Commons" which was sponsored by the SWBOCES. The speaker was Valerie Diggs from Chelmsford High School outside of Boston. That was such an informative talk. I learned a great deal about a library makeover. Yes she was able to put a lot of money into her library renovation. I won't have that luxury. But what I got out of her talk was how to change the perception of what your library is.
Is it a room full of books or can it be an oasis for student exchange? She got me thinking about how I can improve the library services and by that I don't mean exactly just offering more books or more databases. What can this room we call the library be? For her it meant a coffee shop (run by the students). It is a poetry slam stage. It is classroom meeting space. What she did was "build her library into the fabric of the school." Allow for student congregating areas. Allow for quiet zones. Allow for teachers to use the space as much as the students. Let the natural light flow into the space.
The Learning Commons, as Valerie's library is known, got me thinking about doing something quite similar. I'm considering changing the name from "library" to "learning commons" or something like it. By getting my classroom built in the former Authors Corner, I still get my quiet zone where students can read and I can teach a class. I need to have some tall bookshelves removed to allow more natural light to emit through the room.
I've already discontinued use of the Dewey system for the literary criticisms and for the opposite argument sources.
I will continue to document the process here with pictures.