How does your typical school morning start? In my library, and libraries across the district, it might look a little something like this:
Our campus ITS and I are working with students to film our morning broadcast and supervising our student reporters as they plan and film special announcements for our school. My library assistant is supervising students in our library makerspace who have come to school early for Morning Maker time. My library circulation desk is overseen by a middle schooler helping out until he heads across the street when his school day starts. Kids come in and out, checking out books, participating in reading programming, dropping off applications for various library leadership positions and clubs, and countless other things. Each day is different, but no matter the specifics of what is happening, one thing remains true — our libraries are vibrant spaces – vibrant with learning, the possibility of new experiences, and the excitement of our patrons.
I don’t know about you, but my library experience growing up was nothing like this. My school libraries were QUIET. Any learning that happened was hushed. My library today…well, it’s surely not quiet. My day, and those of all librarians, are filled with teaching, reading, learning, and excitement. Campus librarians collaborate with teachers to plan TEKS aligned lessons to support classroom learning. Through administering state and district reading programs, hosting author visits, and facilitating book clubs for students and faculty, our librarians are generating enthusiasm about reading and learning. We teach students to become knowledgeable seekers of information, who have the ability to synthesize and evaluate the ever-flowing stream of data at our fingertips.
Our libraries are technology hubs, and librarians work constantly to stay abreast of the newest ways to use technology with students and teachers. Interactive technology is utilized to teach lessons covering topics from subitizing to mitosis to forms of poetry. We guide students in creating their own video games, writing code, designing with 3D printers, and programming robots. Of course, technology serves to enhance student interaction with literature through student creation of #booksnaps, book trailers, and book reviews among a wide variety of other activities.
One thing that becomes obvious when you head to the library is that our libraries value ALL kinds of learning, not just the quiet kind. We plan makerspace lessons where students have the chance to participate in hands on activities in an environment where every failure is another opportunity for learning. Requiring communication among students and collaboration within a group, Makerspace and STEAM challenges provide the framework for students to take charge of their learning. In our libraries, collaboration is key, and it is rarely quiet.
The role of libraries in shaping students doesn’t stop with academic learning. Our libraries are spaces where students become part of a larger community outside our schools. Here, we teach students to care for and help their wider community by sponsoring fund raisers and service projects. The importance of leadership and responsibility is emphasized by providing our students with the opportunity to help run our libraries by working as library assistants, starting as young as kindergarten.
Though today’s school libraries may not look or sound like those of our youth, the goals of libraries, both past and present, are similar. Our librarians seek to promote literacy, create community, and cultivate creativity and a love of learning. Come check us out… you might be surprised by what you find!