Monday, September 16, 2013

School Libraries as the HUB

When we think about our school libraries, we envision spaces filled with students and staff, purposeful talk, and engaging learning materials.  When I think of our school libraries, I see both a real and virtual hub of learning.

What is a hub?  According to, one of the definitions for hub includes "...a centre around which other things revolve or from which they radiate; a focus of activity."
Think of all the different people, information and conversations that take place in your library every day.  What is the role of the teacher-librarian at the centre of this hub?

How are you connecting students with:
-each other?
-information and ideas?
-with critical literacy skills development?
-experts in the local community, and from around the world?
-new materials?

How are you connecting staff with:
-each other?
-professional learning opportunities?
-information and ideas related to the deep and impactful study of the curriculum?
-book/resource recommendations?
-research supports?
-experts from around the world?

How are you connecting with your school community:
-parents and guardians?
-local businesses?
-community agencies?
-local history?

What do you think of when you think of a hub?  How can our work, as teacher-librarians, support every student, staff and community member?  I look forward to reading your comments!

Monday, September 9, 2013

September provides us with a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the routines we use in  our school libraries.   It's a fantastic time to seek student and staff input about what routines are working, which ones need revised and which ones may need to be introduced (or eliminated).  As you think about "what makes this library work?" you may wish to consider:

Aspects of Routine Questions to Consider
 Student Voice and Choice
  •  In what additional ways can student voice and choice be part of the development and adherence to routines?
  • What routines make sense to each division?  What routines might be better suited for a particular group of learners?
  • How can all adults support routines being followed in the library?
 Entry and Exit
  •  How can we use a double-door entrance to our advantage?  (e.g. might a specific entry and specific exit door help students move safely and efficiently to and from the space?)
  • What routines at the beginning and end of time in the library make sense given the space (e.g. book return, checkouts, line-ups, etc.)?
 Circulation of Materials
  •  How do we determine how many items a library patron can sign out?
  • What routines are used for signing out books that might be further streamlined and/or changed (e.g. students allowed to sign out YA books have a small checkmark on the library patron card)
  • How might the process of checking in books be made more efficient (e.g. checking for damaged materials; reshelving) 
 Layout of the Space
  • How are the different collections (e.g. picture books) laid out?  
  • How does or might this layout supporting ease of access, while at the same time honouring a variety of learners?
 Building Independence
  •  What skills can each library patron develop over time, given the appropriate instruction and support?

What other routines have you thought about and chatted about with staff, students and the school community?  I'd love you to share your thoughts below by clicking on the "Comments" button!

Rejuvenating Your Space!

Change is good - repeat after me. ;-)  

As busy professionals, often the last think on our minds is the actual space in which we work.  But making a few small changes to the layout of your school library space can not only refresh the space, it can refresh you as well!

Some quick and easy ways to refresh your library space might include:
  • have students determine and create items that will bring student voice into the space (e.g. an Intermediate-focussed bulletin board display; student watercolour art; a display of "favourite Kindergarten picture books"; student "recommended reads" tags)
  • obtaining a new carpet for the primary reading area (bright and colourful is always good!)
  • creating or rearranging a lounge space just for Intermediate students (if you build it, they WILL come)
  • moving the portable shelving units onto an angle (this creates visual interest, as well as possibly easing access)
  • create a space to highlight new books (e.g. follow the model from Indigo and have staff and students "recommend" books via comments on a sticky note)
  • place moveable shelves on an angle
  • rearrange long tables into collaborative spaces
Have some more quick and easy ways to rejuvenate?  Please share!

PS I love to chat about rejuvenation - for those of you working in YRDSB schools, please feel free to email me to set up a time that I can come and visit (just call me Sarah Richardson!)


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