Facility Design CURRENT ISSUES AND BEST PRACTICES“A LIBRARY NEEDS TO BE INVITING TO THE MINDS AND SOULS AS WELL AS TO THE BODIES OF ITS USERS” (Oberg, 1999, p. 4). Jennifer Keneally ELLM – 6110-80
Current Issue – Facility DesignMany existing library spaces do not meet the changing needs and demands of the 21st Century learner. Asschools investigate ways to renovate or redesign these spaces: What should librarians and stakeholders consider in the planning stages of a renovation project? What are the current trends in library design? If budgetary dollars are small, how can design changes be completed in a cost effective way?
Planning“TODAY’S WELL FUNCTIONING HIGH SCHOOLLIBRARIES ARE LEARNING CENTERS WHERE STUDENTS CANSTUDY, READ, RESEARCH, COLLABORATE, EXPLORE, THINK, CREATE, DISCOVER AND JUST BE” (Graboyes, 2011, p. 74).
When a school or district begins a library renovation project, there are factors that should be considered before bringing in outside Planning: assistance from architects or library design companies. Include various stakeholders in any redesign committee. These stakeholders include: “Planning and Studentsdesigning a new high Library staff Faculty members (including department supervisors) school library to Technology department staff reflect emerging Plant managers trends while Parents remaining true to Evaluate the current library program and create a vision for the future. best practices takes If necessary, the library mission and vision statement should time, thought and be updated to reflect emerging trends and potential redesign plans. teamwork” Research current trends Consider the following questions: (Martin, 2011, p. 15). What are the library’s main functions? What goes on in the library? What do you already have in the library? Additional Considerations: Furniture needs Storage needs Special considerations (accessibility, scheduling etc.) (Lankford, 1994, p. 20-24)
1. Program predetermines plan. 2. Form follows function. 3. Pragmatics supercede The TenCommandments aesthetics. for School 4. Quality is true economy. Library Planning 5. Users participate in planning. 6. Maximum control and minimal supervision. 7. Accessibility invites use.(Oberg, 1999, p. 6) 8. Multiple use avoids space abuse. 9. Shelving outranks windows. 10. One wall leads to the future.
Trends – The Café Library “SCHOOL LIBRARIES MUST ENGAGE IN A MAJOROUTREACH CAMPAIGN TO COMPETE WITH IPODS, TEXT MESSAGING, INSTANT MESSAGING AND ALL THELATEST TECHNOLOGIES THAT HOG KIDS’ ATTENTION” (Whelan, 2008, p. 39).
The Café Library In researching redesign options, some schools are considering a “Starbucks/Barnes & Noble” model. The Café Library aims to draw in students and cater to the teenage culture. The argument for this type of library model is that school libraries need to be places where students WANT to be. “The main thing is getting to kids who don’t normally come into the library…just start a dialogue” (Whelan, 2008, p. 40.) The Café model can be achieved on a small scale through student run cafes or on a larger scale with franchises coming into schools to setup cafes. (Whelan, 2008, p. 36-40)
The Café Model: Advantages Northwest High School – Texas: Java City franchise established a café in the school library Circulation has tripled Library is filled with students – in the mornings there are over 200 students in the library! Librarian is able to do more: monthly 90 minute book talks with all 600 students in the school “The café is kind of a status symbol. Kids love the freedom of making choices and being seen as adults” (Whelan, 2008, p. 37) Tulia High School – Texas Small café set up by the librarian “Since opening day in 2006, there’s been a 12 percent increase in circulation – despite a four percent dip in the overall student population” (Whelan, 2008,p. 38) Centennial High School – Tennessee “Cougar Café” run entirely by the students through their Marketing class The students are responsible for inventory, ordering and upkeep Open during the school day, half hour before and after school and later than usual when students are studying for exams and the school library is open until 8:30 pm. (Whelan, 2008, p. 36-40)
The Café Model: DisadvantagesWhile there are many advantages to the Café model, there are also several philosophical andoperational concerns that should be considered: In franchised locations, there is a concern that corporations aren’t building the cafes altruistically and are instead attempting the “brand” students for life. Many question whether the library is an appropriate place to serve food and drink. Traditionally the library is a food and drink free area in the school. Could introducing food and drink potentially lead to the innocent destruction of books, computers and other library materials? Do the cafes contribute to unhealthy eating habits? Should schools be promoting caffeine consumption? Who is responsible for cleaning the cafes? Disposing of the garbage? Is this an increased work load for the custodial staff? Could funds directed towards creating the café be better used in collection development and technological updates?Even though schools have experienced success with this model, the library-as-café requiresthe librarian to do outreach and relationship building with members of the schoolcommunity, especially those who are resistant to the idea. (Whelan, 2008, p. 36-40)
Trends – Learning Commons “THE COMMONS MODEL HAS BECOME A BLEND OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY SERVICES AND CLASSICAL LIBRARY REFERENCE AND RESEARCH RESOURCES. IT SERVES AS A HUB FOR STUDENTS TO GATHER, EXCHANGE IDEAS, COLLABORATE AND UTILIZE MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES” (SENS, 2010).
Learning CommonsIn order to address the changing learning styles of today’sstudents, school are considering redesign plans thattransform the traditional library into a space commonlycalled a “learning commons.” The learning commons model is based on the following principles: While a traditional model focuses on the “transfer of knowledge from professor to student, today’s students learn by accessing knowledge…among their peers” (Sens, 2010). The library “defines literacy through varied access points, develops and refines critical thinking within a social context and …allows students to grow personally and academically” (Martin, 2011, p. 15).
What does a Learning Commons Look Like?A library built around the Learning Commons model is: An open space where books are pushed to the periphery Structured to be continuation of the classroom environment An area where students are brought together around a shared learning task Not a quiet space – it is an active space that lives in “controlled chaos”The learning commons design focuses on functionality andflexibility allowing for a variety of work spaces including: Reading areas, conference rooms, a gaming area and formal and informal instruction areas.
Learning Commons - Advantages Cushing Academy - Massachusetts The school created an all digital format for their library because “a small collection of printed books no longer supports the type of research required by a 21st Century curriculum” (Tracy, Kirschenbaum, Gray, Carr & Powers, 2010). Removing most of the book resources in the library allowed the school to set up a learning commons. With the change to the learning commons, Cushing Academy has seen an increased use of the library Since students need more assistance with the new digital format, the school has increased its staffing in the library. Students are checking out more books on eReaders. (Tracy, Kirschenbaum, Gray, Carr & Powers, 2010).
Learning Commons - DisadvantagesAlthough the learning commons model is becomingincreasingly popular, there are some disadvantages thatshould be considered with this model (especially an alldigital learning commons), including: Not all resources are available in a digital format. Removing all of the books excludes students from serendipitous discoveries in the stacks. Removing all of the books discounts the investments made by librarians in quality collection development. The learning commons model does not always address multiple intelligences. (Tracy, Kirschenbaum, Gray, Carr & Powers, 2010)
Best Practices IF A RENOVATION OF THE LIBRARY IS NOTFEASIBLE, WHAT ARE SOME COST EFFECTIVE OPTIONS A LIBRARIAN CAN CONSIDER TOTRANSFORM A TRADITIONAL LIBRARY INTO A 2 1 ST C ENTURY LEARNING SPACE?
Best Practices Furniture: Flexibility is key. Purchase movable/modular tables and chairs that allow for independent as well as collaborative learning. A cheaper alternative to this is to put existing tables and bookshelves on casters. Comfy chairs/sofas Create zones: Use furniture and shelving to separate the library space. Consider zones for instruction, quiet study and reading, collaborative working areas, and computers/technology Shelving: If shelves are blocking natural light, consider cutting the shelving units. Purchase new end panels to give a “refinished” look. (Sullivan, 2011, p. 26-32) (Lankford, 1994, p. 20-24) (Graboyes, 2011, 74-78)
Best Practices Merchandise your books: “It is time to stop warehousing book and start merchandising them” (Sullivan, 2011, p.26-32). Create dynamic displays, Barnes & Noble style “face-outs” and mobile fixtures. Weed and update library collection Remove old, outdated and worn materials. Bring in popular fiction texts. Appeal to all levels of reading interest Convert unused spaces into used spaces: Odd hallways or alcoves can become display areas for student work. Bring in the great outdoors/maximize natural light if possible Add color and texture Bright colors, murals and student artwork. (Sullivan, 2011, p. 26-32) (Lankford, 1994, p. 20-24)
SourcesGraboyes, A. S. (2011). A 21st century library in a 20th century space. Educational Leadership, 69 (4), 74-78.Lankford, M.D. (1994). Design for change: How to plan school library you really need. School Library Journal, 40 (2), 20-24.Martin, A.M, Westmoreland, D.D., & Branyon, A. (2001). New design considerations that transform the library into an indispensible learning environment. Teacher Librarian, 38 (5), 15-20.Oberg, D. (1999). School libraries: Inviting spaces for learning. School Libraries in Canada, 19 (1), 4-6.Sens, T. (2010). 12 major trends in library design. Building and Design Construction. Retrieved from http://www.bdcnetwork.com/12-major-trends-library-designSullivan, M. (2011). Divine design: How to create the 21st century school library of your dreams. School Library Journal, 57 (4), 26-32.Tracy, J., Kirschenbaum, M., Gray, L., Carr, N. & Powers, W. (2010). Room for debate: Do school libraries need books? The New York Times. Retrieved from http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/do-school-libraries-need-books/Whelan, D. (2008). Café society: Do school libraries need a double shot of espresso? School Library Journal, 54 (1), 36-40.