District Administration November 2017 - 34

BIG LEAP

for

Libraries

"We were getting a lot of concern
from our librarians as well as our community about how old our circulation
was becoming," she says. "It was important for us to update some of the books
that were culturally insensitive."
Make way for multitasking
Districts don't need brand new facilities
to launch this transformation. Many
schools have found success in redesign-

GOING DIGITAL
Digital library content spans fiction,
nonfiction, test prep, professional
development materials and more.
Overdrive's catalog has 4 million
ebooks, audiobooks and videos,
and is used by 17,000 schools
worldwide, says David Burleigh, the
company's director of brand.
Schools pick which titles they
want access to, how many copies
they want and for how long to lend
them. Groups of schools can sign
up together to share access.
On the reference side, Gale's
In Context series combines the
company's content with primary
sources and material pulled from
partners. There are articles from
newspapers and academic journals, audio from NPR, and videos
from AP and NASA-all of which is
updated regularly.
Lemma Shomali, Gale's director
of K12 products, says schools want
to add material and free up space.
"(They say) let's get rid of these
encyclopedias from the year 2000
that we have on the shelf because
we can cross-search them electronically," she says. "Instead, let's
bring students here to use the 3D
printer or work on their robotics
competition."

34 November 2017

ing-and rebranding-their library as a
hub for learning activities.
The old library at Naperville North
High School near Chicago wasn't a place
many students wanted to go. When they
all got Chromebooks, the library's rows of
desktop computers went unused, as did
most of the physical collection, says Mark
Skarr, Naperville North's former technology integration specialist who oversaw
the library's transformation into a learning commons.
The facility opened last year with
small- and large-group spaces, a studentrun cafe, and a lounge area with leather
couches, booths and tables. Eating, talking and socializing are all encouraged,
and the space is packed starting at 7 a.m.,
Skarr says.
Meanwhile, the physical collection
was cut down from nearly 14,000 items
to about 4,000 based on data on which
titles students were reading, Skarr says.
"The way that we do school is changing and the way kids interact is obviously
changing along with (that)," he says. "The
new normal is that you have a multitasking facility that's capable of taking care of
the needs of a lot of students at one time."
Visionary students
When leaders at Brookside School in
Allendale, New Jersey, wanted to improve
the fourth- through eighth-grade school's
library, they asked students for guidance.
Students wanted a place to hang out, do
homework and use their Chromebooks.
And, "They wanted it to look cool," Principal Bruce Winkelstein says.
Brookside's
learning
commons
opened in January with bright blue carpet, hourglass-shaped tables and candycolored chairs on wheels. Elsewhere there
are high-top tables ("think Starbucks
tables with high stools," Winkelstein
says) and reading nooks built into the
walls ("those are wildly popular"). At the
far end, curved shelves form an enclosed
space where teachers bring classes.

One challenge was finding a design
firm up to the task of creating a nontraditional library space that reflected students' wishes.
"If students were going to utilize this
room and be excited to utilize it on a daily
basis, this was going to be their vision,"
says Allendale School District Superintendent Michael Barcadepone, who
admits the bright colors can be jarring for
adults. "There's nothing in that room that
the students did not sign off on."
Brookside removed some nonfiction
and reference materials to make room for
another trend in libraries: a makerspace
area devoted to hands-on creative activities. The space is stocked with Legos and
art supplies.
Makerspaces are an engaging way
to bring STEM and STEAM into the
library, adds Yates, the 2017-18 president
of the American Association of School
Librarians. For older students, makerspaces might include woodworking tools,
sewing machines and 3D printers.
As expectations in the classroom
change, library offerings must expand.
"If it sounds somewhat like the Industrial
Revolution in your library space," he says,
"then you have an active making culture."
'These resources called librarians'
Of course, a stellar library space still needs
a skilled librarian. During the recession,
many districts targeted these positions for
cuts. But a few years later, some school
systems found themselves missing that
champion of digital literacy and technology integration, Yates says.
Say you want to get rid of textbooks
and pull from open educational resources
instead. "Who is going to sit there and
curate it and help your teachers, who are
already constrained for time?" says Nader
Qaimari, president of Follett School
Solutions, the library products and software giant. "You probably have these
resources called librarians who know how
to sift through information."

District Administration



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration November 2017

District Administration November 2017 - Cover1
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