This past week we have been very fortunate to have two fantastic library experts, Doug Johnson and Ann Krembs, here at ISB to help guide us through our Main Library Review. While they were here specifically to share recommendations for our upcoming renovation of our Main Library (for middle and high school students), they also generously stopped down in the ES Learning Hub to give us some advice on how to improve our space.
It’s amazing what a fresh pair of eyes can see.
Within moments, Doug and Ann, had several easy, but very effective, suggestions for us. Interestingly, one of those suggestions was exactly what Silvia said about our Tech Zone when she was here in Bangkok a few weeks ago, but it didn’t really hit me until this week:
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.
This hit me like a bolt of lightening. Of course! Why would they use our space, when they can continue to use their own, more private space, that has been customized to their specific classroom needs? Especially considering how well-resourced we are as a school, with laptop carts for every 2 classrooms and extensive classroom libraries.
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:
Of course, that space was also back-to-back with our “computer lab” space, making it very difficult to have classes in both spaces at the same time.
Now, with the advice of Doug and Ann, we’ve redesigned the space to make it more of a “movie theater” look for story time, as well as open up the shelving to spread the tables throughout the library to allow more privacy in seating:
We’re hoping we’ve captured the “something different” idea with this arrangement. Who has a movie theater in their classroom with comfy chairs and surround sound speakers?
And just for fun we added some chess boards:
And rearranged our fiction reading nook:
Our next step is to tackle the “computer lab” area (called the Tech Zone) and transform it into a multimedia editing suite, with a green-screen and podcasting stations:
What are you doing to offer something different in your learning space? What other changes would you recommend we make in this space?