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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

More school library dreaming

April 26, 2012

I'm lucky enough to be involved with our school's library renovation project. I wrote about our first meeting here. Yesterday we met with the architects and we had a chance to see their first drafts.

We all know that school libraries are important places. A new two-phase study from Rutgers University helps us understand even more about libraries: they impact entire schools, not just test scores. School librarians are co-teachers to all teachers in the building, and they can help teachers integrate skills and content instruction. Libraries are safe, multidisciplinary learning centers where information is available to all.

That sentiment was reflected in our thinking about renovations. Beyond movable shelving units and comfortable cushions, we talked about glass walled "huddle labs" with white boards for planning, and a multimedia project room where students can pull together projects using a variety of technologies. We talked about "ambiguous furniture" that can create partitions but than can be pushed aside to create larger collaborative spaces. And also the need for smaller, cozier spaces for kids to hunker down on their own and fall into a book.

We drooled over the ideas and pictures the architects brought, and we left dreaming about how we could transform our library, including the entrance way. And don't get me started on color! There are such neat ways to think about color as a way to welcome patrons, and as a way to delineate and articulate different spaces within the library.

Then we all woke up when the building facilitator started talking about costs. And budgets. And using a phased plan. Boo-hiss! Sadly, that's the topic for our next meeting. I'll lobby hard for the PTO to get involved with fundraising, and with the administrator's help, we'll think about different allocations of money that could be used.

Want to fall in love with pictures of libraries? I've added several pictures based on yesterday's meeting. Take a look at our school library Pinterest board.

School Libraries

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables