What is a Library Learning Commons (LLC)?
From the readings, the description that resonates the most with me was a place where “reading thrives, learning literacies and technology competencies evolve, and critical thinking, creativity, innovation, and playing to learn are nourished. Everyone is a learner; everyone is a teacher working collaboratively towards excellence” (Canadian Library Association, 2014, p.5). Similarly, Hayes (2014) describes the LLC as, “the hub of the school, where teachers and students collaborate, inquiry-based learning is promoted, and teacher-librarians provide instructional support to every teacher in the school while fostering a thriving reading culture” (p.1).
Clearly, in order to be a successful LLC, the teacher-librarian must wear many hats. A teacher-librarian must be flexible, passionate, creative, inclusive, resourceful, transliterate, a leader, a lifelong learner, an innovator, a facilitator, a leader in technology, an advocate for literacy, a risk taker, a team player, a collaborator, etc. The list could go on and on. As I expressed on the online discussion boards for this course, it is an exciting time to be a part of a library learning commons team, but also a little overwhelming!
I appreciate how the document by the Canadian Library Association (2014) titled Leading learning: Standards of practice for school library learning commons in Canada provides a framework to make a successful transition to a learning commons. At my school, we were given a grant to transform the physical space of our room, but the rest of the library program was left up to us. This document emphasizes that the transition must be a “whole school approach to building a participatory learning community” (Canadian Library Association, 2014, p.5). This is definitely an area that my library learning commons team needs to work on. We have been so focused on the purchasing and programming that we have not put the time aside to gather input from other school and community members. When I return from my maternity leave, this will be a great place to start to truly make our room the hub of the learning and literacy. We also need to work on our online presence. We currently use Word Press for our library website, but it does not engage students to be active participants and thus is not truly a virtual learning commons.
So, what makes a successful LLC that is the hub of the school?
The Canadian Library Association (2014) outlines 5 standards that an effective LLC should be focused on: collaborative engagement, school goals, effective instructional design, literacies for life-long learning, and learning environments for participatory learning. Their “recipe” for this is almost 40 pages long! In the article Library to Learning Commons: A recipe for success, Hayes (2014) focuses on three main areas of promotion: student collaboration and personalized learning, inquiry-based learning, and staff collaboration. After completing the readings, reflecting on my essential question around literacy, and focusing on the local context of our school, I have complied our recipe for success:
- 1 cup Comfortable & flexible furniture
- 5 cups Open, welcoming & inclusive LLC staff/room
- 3 cups Student centred programming
- 4 cups Multi-modal resources to promote reading for pleasure and literacy
- 2 cups Information literacy & digital citizenship tutorials
- 5 cups Collaboration with staff and students
- 4 cups Access to technology to enhance learning
- 1 cup Interactive online presence (virtual learning commons)
Our LLC program supports:
- Reading for Pleasure
- Inquiry based learning & the Research Process
- Information Literacy & Digital Citizenship
- Academic Success
- University & Career Preparation
- Using Technology to Enhance and Personalize Learning
- Building Community & School Culture
- Student & Teacher Collaboration
- Monday to Friday 8:00am-4:00pm
- Homework Club: 3:00-4:00pm M,W,Th
Our LLC leadership teams believes that the physical room, LLC staff, programs, services, resources, and website must be focused on improving student success and 21st century literacy. In order to achieve this, we support many different patrons, curricular goals, and big picture ideas. We also believe that the doors need to be open to serve our patrons and allow access to our resources and technology.
To summarize my recipe to become the hub of the school, I created an online poster board using Glogster and photos from around our LLC. I wanted to expand my Web 2.0 tool kit, so I also took the photos that I displayed in Glogster, and put them into a mosaic maker using BigHugeLabs.com. My learning curations for Week 2 can be found below:
BigHugeLabs- Mosaic Maker:
Pictures shown (top left to right, row by row): literature circle, collaboration on an inquiry project, Christmas tree made of library books, displaying student art work and new books in the library, staff appreciation tea, Ask an Expert lunchtime program with local pharmacist, staff appreciation tea, grade 12 scholarship workshop, library club presents holiday movie and popcorn, library laptops and comfortable furniture, Learning@Lunch with District Technology Coordinator, Homework Club, Halloween display, Graphic Novel student input for ordering, Ask an Expert lunchtime program with an RCMP member , beanbags.