When a school library has a set up that can be described as a rabbit warren with shelves obstructing the view, it’s time to make a change. Susan Strano, documentation technician, went to work on making that change with the help of Suzanne Nesbitt, library consultant, at the Lester B. Pearson School Board on the West Island of Montreal, and the results are exciting. Using a combination of high tech and low tech, (plus a lot of pallet wood that created bleachers, work stations, a window seat and more), Riverdale High School’s library learning commons is now a busy, happy place with plenty of comfortable seating, moveable furniture, shelves that contain up to date books (fiction is even more accessible as it is shelved by genre now), and even an iPad surfing bar.
In the film below, Riverdale High School: Transforming to a Library Learning Commons, Strano and Nesbitt talk about the importance of weeding books to create space and being aware of the needs of the learning community in order to meet those needs. With this large and flexible space, they show how a portable stage, green screen, and curtains are used for a variety of activities that has included a slam poetry competition, newscasts for the school, and a writing workshop with a guest author in which a young adult novel was produced and published.
Being willing to try things out is emphasized and a number of suggestions are made in the film for low cost ways to make the transformation to a library learning commons where anything is possible!