Once-quiet libraries are turning into dynamic learning centers

libraries-quietThere is no “shushing” in the International School at Dundee’s library.

Students can talk; they can even get a little noisy while tapping away at keyboards, peppering a guest speaker with questions, or giving a presentation to classmates. Head over to the Makerspace and you will hear the rumbling and beeping of 3D printers churning out their latest creations.

This is the soundtrack of ISD’s new, transformed library. Here, students do not stop by just to check out and read books. They visit more often, come for a wider range of activities and stay longer.

It’s not even called a library anymore. Or a media center. It is now the “learning commons,” a hub for students and teachers. And it is a model that is set to spread soon to other schools, as the boundaries between libraries and classrooms dissipate during the district’s ongoing digital learning initiative.

“I was really looking for this space to become a much more dynamic space,” said ISD Principal Terry Ricci. “The tenets of the learning commons align really well with 21st-century skills and with our International Baccalaureate program. The learning there is now much more powerful.”

Next page: Co-teachers, skills, and what’s next for libraries