A bit later this year, my school will get its BER-funded library. And while we don't get that much choice about the design of the actual building, Ann my principal keeps reminding the staff that we have a lot of choice about the interior looks like. She believes (and I agree) that this is a great chance to break the mould of how a primary school library is set up and run. Re-imagining how a dynamic learning space for our school could look is an exciting opportunity that should open up new possibilities.
I personally feel excited looking at Kim Cofino's workplace, the Learning Hub at ISB, Thailand and see that is an attractive learning environment that holds what is currently good about school libraries (fiction books, magazines etc.) blended with new media areas and comfortable seating. Kim explains:
You have to give them something different. The Learning Hub (library) has to offer a physical environment that is different than other spaces teachers and students regularly use.
Not that their design doesn't need a bit of tweaking from time to time:
In our efforts to make a 21st century learning environment, we had mistakenly recreated a standard, formal classroom space at the very front of the Learning Hub, assuming that teachers would want to use it as an expanded classroom:
I'm thinking that a few things need to go - a traditional computer lab isn't really needed in a school that is trying to go wireless and get technology out into the classrooms and why do we need any reference books that are not digital? I suppose one of the greatest challenges about a blank slate (aka the empty shell of a building) is prioritising the possibilities and actually picturing how it all might fit together.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/superkimbo/3536973387/