The library spaces are undergoing a change, not only physically but philosophically. It is no longer a “quiet” space with only books on shelves; it is now a learning commons. It is a space that is focused on being user-friendly with a technology and literary element. It is a space that advocates collaboration, learning, creativity, and most of all, flexibility.
These spaces are usually filled with learners who need to talk through ideas and work on projects in groups. Teachers are using these spaces to launch creative ideas and research ideas using technology as well as other available resources. Most of these spaces are now including what is called a Makerspace. It is a space where students can go to be creative and use critical thinking skills to complete standards. The role of the Library Media Specialist is also undergoing a change. Working to find a way to make the spaces more visible, flexible and overall, user-friendly is a goal, and of course, it must include technology.
ESMS is no different. My role is to make this a more user-friendly environment where technological tools are available. First, we have changed from a library to a learning commons. If you have been to ESMS Learning Commons lately, you will notice that in the last 4 years, the space has had a drastic facelift. The shelving in the middle of the floor has been removed. The seating is undergoing changes as well. The wooden tables and chairs have been replaced with rolling desks, soft-seated chairs, bean bags, and folding workstations. We have small rooms for those that still need a quiet space to test or film. Room 121 has become a part of our space and is currently a Makerspace area. This space includes a workstation with shelving that holds everything imaginable to desktop computers surrounding the workstation to Makey Makeys and Spheros. Our space is about flexibility and learning. Students are digital citizens who collaborate, create and solve authentic problems. Our learning space is being redesigned to support that pedagogical shift.
My role has changed from shelving and ordering hardback books to establishing and facilitating a space that provides opportunity for growth to lifelong learners. While I still order hardback books for students, there is a far greater focus on ordering eBooks and digital materials to support mastery of the Missouri Learning Standards. I focus on providing materials and spaces to foster critical thinking skills and an appreciation for the lifelong acquisition and application of knowledge. Differentiating learning is the key to making this space successful, because there are so many different learning styles that students are using in the 21st century. I must also practice my lifelong learning skills by completing Professional Development opportunities that help me with my ever-changing role as Library Media Specialist.
My suggestion to you, if you have not been to ESMS Learning Commons lately, stop by and see what is happening here!