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WE Innovate: Library Transformations

Libraries transform people. In the library, ideas are born and nurtured. Thinking and learning skills are honed. Collaboration becomes second nature.

All over the District, libraries are being transformed into collaborative and flexible learning spaces with access to digital technology, fiction, nonfiction, reference materials and Makerspaces.

The mission of the Library and Instructional Technology Teachers (LITTs) throughout the District is to inspire kids to a lifelong love of reading and learning, asking questions, solving problems, and becoming good citizens, digital or otherwise, and they are doing this by designing new and innovative library spaces.

At Raleigh Park Elementary School, Library and Instructional Technology Teacher, Sandra Corson worked with Innovation Strategist Katie White, District Librarian Jenny Takeda, and Miranda McCrory a designer from SmithCFI, to imagine the space and select materials.  "We wanted flexibility in our space, so all of the furniture is easily moved and can be reconfigured," says Sandra.  They created areas tucked away for students to enjoy a good book, an area for small groups to enjoy a story together or for larger groups of students during a read aloud. They incorporated a Makerspace area and some whiteboard tables.  There are also some seats that allow movement (buoys) and one table area at standing height.

"Students are making and creating in a way that wasn't possible before we changed the space.  The new library design also encourages collaborative work," says Sandra.  "The students have been very excited about the changes and each person seems to find a spot that suits him/her best – a quiet corner, a busy maker area, partner reading and more."

At Mountain View Middle School, Steve Lent, Library and Instructional Technology Teacher, worked with community partners like Nike to transform their library.  Bookshelves were moved to the perimeter of the room to gain more floor space creating more flexible seating and work stations. Outdated computers were moved to make room for new sleek iPad kiosks, and the former computer lab was transformed into a Makerspace.

"Overall, the new layout is much more efficient for students to find books, better for staff meetings, and more welcoming for our kids," says Steve. "The library is buzzing most of the day now."