SCHOOL LIBRARY MANAGEMENT
Digital info, easily accessible from classrooms, homes, and mobile devices, is the choice of today’s students and teachers who receive fewer in person visits to libraries. For one hundred years, many schools have created spacious rooms which contain thousands of books along with other physical materials to support reading programs, aid research projects, and expand the curriculum. Numerous studies1 show that schools with good library programs are more successful than those without, validating the wisdom of education leaders who’ve invested in school libraries. However info seekers today have less need to visit a physical library to meet their needs.
Many school leaders are asking, Why does a school need a physical library when students can readily access info utilizing a laptop computer, a tablet computer, or a cell phone? Can these large, expensive space in our schools be used for other purposes which will produce greater education benefits? When building a brand new school, should we ask whether it even needs a library? Adapting to Current Needs – The fact is that today’s best school libraries aren’t just surviving, but thriving in this new info environment by reusing their physical spaces to adapt to the digital age.
Here are the main needs that these libraries are meeting. Social Learning Spaces – Students still want to meet and learn in physical environments. Online bookstores haven’t killed the physical bookstore. But like bookstores, the school library needs becoming a high touch environment in a high technology world. Comfort and appearance are increasingly important. Upholstered seating, flexible furniture arrangements, and attention to aesthetics in lighting and colours help make the library a place where staff and students want to be. The modern library is a place for teams to work together, formally and informally. For schools that have no other spaces for recreation and play, like a student asset or a playground, the library can provide such spaces, especially after and before school.
A successful library adopts a liberal definition of what constitutes a constructive activity, allowing users to engage in games and research on topics of personal interest. Such a library can be the only place at school where some students feel at home. The school library can become a learning commons by encouraging a broader purpose of use by more school staff for tutoring, professional education, gifted and talented services, and a raft of instructional assistance services. Technology integration specialists offices and workspaces should be a part of the library in order that users can readily collaborate with them and access their expertise. Production and Presentation Spaces – School library expert Joyce Valenza reminds today’s educators that we need to stop thinking of the library as a grocery storea place to get stuffand start thinking of it as a kitchena place to make stuff.2 Libraries are becoming maker spaces, giving all students access to workstations with fast processing speed, adequate memory, and software for video and photo editing, music production, voice recordings, computer programming, multi-media composition, and even 3-D printers. As digital access goes from computer workstations to mobile devices, the physical library needs a robust Wi-Fi network infrastructure.