The Learning Commons; a Glorified Library? Part Two

Ginann Franklin
by Ginann Franklin

Each day from the US Library windows I can see change happening. Our newest building, which will house the Learning Commons, is growing before my eyes. I look at the current US library space and it pales in comparison to what the future holds. The sign outside the library door says “Library Media Center and Reading Room.” What should the sign say outside the Learning Commons door? How will we describe it’s function? Learning implies people are acquiring knowledge. Commons is defined as “pertaining or belonging equally to an entirecommunity.” (dictionary.com) A place for everyone to learn. That’s just a part of our vision. The other part is that this commons is where we are working together to acquire problem solving skills to help us navigate a global community in constant change. 

So what is the librarian’s role? Just as teacher roles have changed so has our role. Instead of controlling and managing access to information for our community we have now become “personal shoppers!” Teachers or students come to us with an information need and we offer advice or suggestions. We don’t offer “one size fits all” solutions; instead we want to customize the results for your current needs. Taking it a step further we also want to enable our community to recognize when they need a change in their “ wardrobe” (last season’s look is so out of date!), learn to find this season’s great options, evaluate what are the best “looks” for them, and then offer a place where they can show off their new style! Is our job easy? Yes and no. No, because it’s hard keeping up with all the current trends, how they can be integrated and trying to know the over 300 individual “styles” in our community ! Yes, because it’s so much fun discovering, learning and creating new “looks” that people love to “wear!”

No one person knows everything. That’s the beauty of our Learning Commons. We are bringing together a team of specialists who love to collaborate with classroom teachers so that, together, we can empower our students to be critical and creative thinkers.  What should the sign say outside the door?  Learning Commons: _______________ . What will it mean to you? How will you fill in the blank? I hope it won’t be “Reading Room.”
Each day from the US Library windows I can see change happening. Our newest building, which will house the Learning Commons, is growing before my eyes. I look at the current US library space and it pales in comparison to what the future holds. The sign outside the library door says “Library Media Center and Reading Room.” What should the sign say outside the Learning Commons door? How will we describe it’s function? Learning implies people are acquiring knowledge. Commons is defined as “pertaining or belonging equally to an entirecommunity.” (dictionary.com) A place for everyone to learn. That’s just a part of our vision. The other part is that this commons is where we are working together to acquire problem solving skills to help us navigate a global community in constant change. 

So what is the librarian’s role? Just as teacher roles have changed so has our role. Instead of controlling and managing access to information for our community we have now become “personal shoppers!” Teachers or students come to us with an information need and we offer advice or suggestions. We don’t offer “one size fits all” solutions; instead we want to customize the results for your current needs. Taking it a step further we also want to enable our community to recognize when they need a change in their “ wardrobe” (last season’s look is so out of date!), learn to find this season’s great options, evaluate what are the best “looks” for them, and then offer a place where they can show off their new style! Is our job easy? Yes and no. No, because it’s hard keeping up with all the current trends, how they can be integrated and trying to know the over 300 individual “styles” in our community ! Yes, because it’s so much fun discovering, learning and creating new “looks” that people love to “wear!” 

No one person knows everything. That’s the beauty of our Learning Commons. We are bringing together a team of specialists who love to collaborate with classroom teachers so that, together, we can empower our students to be critical and creative thinkers.  What should the sign say outside the door?  Learning Commons: _______________ . What will it mean to you? How will you fill in the blank? I hope it won’t be “Reading Room.”
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Currey Ingram Academy

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Currey Ingram Academy is an exemplary K-12 day school that empowers students with learning differences to reach their fullest potential. Since 2002, the school has been located on an 83-acre campus in Brentwood, Tenn., just miles from Nashville and Franklin. Families from 33 states and eight countries cite the school as their primary reason for moving to Middle Tennessee.

Currey Ingram Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and AdvancEd/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).