When you think of a school library, probably what comes to mind is a hushed room that acts as a storage space or warehouse of books and resources. There was a time when these spaces were the only place to find information. Now, we have more access to information than ever before, right at our fingertips, through our computers, phones and other mobile devices. So why are library spaces still relevant?
As our access to information is changing so is the role of school libraries. Not only are libraries a place to house resources, they are becoming spaces for students to connect and construct knowledge. Students today need more than just access to information, they have to learn to evaluate and create meaning from what they read. School libraries are key to providing spaces to collaborate and share ideas while supporting their understanding with a variety of sources (Holland). This means, that modern library spaces should be flexible, inviting spaces with areas to work together and access to a variety of resources and technology.
Our new library at TIS reflects this change. Areas to collaborate are everywhere: tables and chairs that can be moved to for any group size, writeable whiteboard tables, small breakout rooms for group work and social areas with comfortable seating. Facilities have been included to support technology use such as charging stations and areas to plug in laptops. Most importantly, the new space is welcoming environment where students want to be – to learn, to read, or just to hang out.
That’s not to say that the books are not important in school libraries- in fact, the circulation at TIS is 500 – 700 books a day! A recent study claims that elementary students prefer to read paper books to eReading devices such as kindles, iPads and mobile phones (Merga). Even university students that are glued to their devices are inclined to read books the old-fashioned way with 92% of students preferring paper to screens (Schaub). So don’t worry, the library will still be a place to enjoy books and our new space with all its nooks and crannies is perfect for finding a personal space to read.
Holland, Beth. “21st-Century Libraries: The Learning Commons.” Edutopia. N.p., 14 Jan. 2015. Web. 11 June 2017. <https://www.edutopia.org/blog/21st-century-libraries-learning-commons-beth-holland>.
Merga, Margaret, and Saiyidi Mat Roni Lecturer, Edith Cowan University. “Children Prefer to Read Books on Paper Rather than Screens.” The Conversation. N.p., 11 June 2017. Web. 11 June 2017. <http://theconversation.com/children-prefer-to-read-books-on-paper-rather-than-screens-74171>.
Schaub, Michael. “92% of College Students Prefer Print Books to E-books, Study Finds.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, O8 Feb. 2016. Web. 11 June 2017. <http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-92-percent-college-students-prefer-paper-over-pixels-20160208-story.html>.
As Teacher Librarian at TIS, Laura Sherriff is the school’s information specialist and resource manger. She also works with teachers to promote literacy throughout the school.