InClass

When was the last time one of your students checked out a book from the library? It’s probably been a while. Here are three ways to make the library a collaborative space. The library has always been a common space for students to gather, collaborate, and work together. This is one of the reasons w

Apr 11, 2018

When was the last time one of your students checked out a book from the library? It’s probably been a while. Here are three ways to make the library a collaborative space.


The library has always been a common space for students to gather, collaborate, and work together. This is one of the reasons we should ensure that libraries will still be relevant in an age of Alexa, Audible, Kindle, etc. Better than the air conditioning, libraries provide a safe space for students to access and work with both printed and digital collections.

How can we encourage our students to utilize these spaces? As in what would (Melvil) Dewey do? WWDD? We know our students appreciate having a variety of learning spaces to fit their various wants and needs at different times. We want to ensure that we provide our students with a learning space that supports innovation, conversation, and ideation.

1. Rethink the seating.

It may sound silly, but in Arthurian legend, King Arthur’s table was round. This made it so that no one person at the table was more important than another. The same can be true for our students. Rethink what seating looks like. Go high. Go low. Go hard. Go soft. Mix things up, and encourage students to vary up their own seating groups. Keep things flexible and movable so that students can come up with different configurations that foster their creativity.

2. Keep things interactive.

A stuffy, static library is of the past. Close your eyes, and imagine the space at Google, Zappos, or Facebook. Companies like these encourage their employees to relax and have fun, but they also get the job done (creatively!). Consider adding elements of tinkering, building, doodling, etc. Add pops of color — there’s nothing worse than staring at a beige wall. Even with a limited budget, students can easily upcycle items like cardboard, water bottles, and leftover scraps of paper, making them into incredible creations.

3. Outlets. Outlets. Outlets.

Are you one of those people scrambling to find an outlet at the gate 30 minutes before your flight? People are very territorial about their power sources. At Arizona K12 Center trainings, we always have dedicated charging areas for our attendees, so no one has to worry about crawling around on the ground or moving tables to reach an outlet. Guaranteeing individuals won’t run out of juice means less opportunities for stifled creativity.

As technology continues to evolve, we must adapt to meet these changes. Libraries are creative spaces meant for collaboration. It’s not just a building or a room that contains books. They play an integral role in helping people of all different backgrounds create solutions to tough, real-world challenges.

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