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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.

Dreaming of school libraries

February 9, 2012

What does your school library look like? For many schools, it looks just like it did when the school was built, maybe 20, 30 or even 40 years ago. Heavy wooden tables and chairs, a "reading rug" for the read aloud portion of library time, and a big circulation desk for check out. Sound familiar?

So that's what the library probably looks like. But is that what it SHOULD look like? Today's learners are far different than they were 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Print encyclopedias? Reference books? They're probably sitting on a dusty shelf somewhere as the kids scramble for the computers for their research work.

I have the opportunity to work with a small group working to redesign a school library built during the 70's. As with many budgets, there isn't enough money to do what we'd really like, but there's enough that we hope to make some changes that will update the library and help make it more of a resource for today's learners.

To get us started, we thought about flexible learning spaces because that seems most in line with what the teachers need from the space. Then we each looked for pictures of libraries we liked. I used Pinterest to gather mine. I found some great examples of color and lighting, wall art, and some furniture that is much different than what we have now!

I'll keep you posted on the project, and try to take some before and after pictures!

School Libraries

UPDATE: To see pictures of some beautiful youth library spaces, take a look at the 2012 Library Design Showcase from American Libraries.



I am also looking at changing the look of our middle school library by adding color and graphic art. I also have used Pinterest to collect images of libraries. My frustration is that many photos show I see only see creative spaces for elementary children...

Thanks so much! We are also dreaming up plans for a new school library. Keep us posted!

Have you seen Cale's new library? It has some flexible spaces, lots of whiteboards for projection and teaching, comfy seats, cafe tables. It's come a long way!

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"The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I [haven't] read." — Abraham Lincoln