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Think about a school library.
What images come to mind? Rows and rows of books, a scattering of tables and chairs, perhaps an area for students to sit and listen to a story or lecture. A place where “Shhh!!!” is the most spoken phrase?
Although libraries like these still exist; more and more school libraries are changing to reflect the changing needs of students. Since school libraries mission of supporting the academic and personal growth of students is key; the tools, materials and use of space all need to reflect the reality of how information in the 21st century is accessed and created. School libraries need to become more than just a quiet place to read a book or find information for a research project. in response, many libraries have already begun the process, are in process or have completed the move from traditional school library and have become 21st century Information Hubs.

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So what is an Information Hub? An information hub is a place where learning and imagination can roam free. There are books, computers, spaces for conversation, group activities and quite corners for solitude. There are online resources and materials for students to access and use 24/7; containing both fiction and non-fiction items for pleasure reading and research. Information hubs, most importantly have, provide maker spaces for students to create and play both in the digital world and the real world. Maker spaces help bring learning full circle as students create something new by synthesizing information, experience, and hand- on work.

Three Things That Are A Must For Every Information Hub

  1. Books! That’s right. Keep the books; maybe just not as many physical copies. Many students still love reading print books and prefer them to e-books; especially when reading literature either for class or for pleasure. And studies show that for engagement, comprehension and retention that print materials are still superior.
  2. Digital Resources for access 24/7 from any place. Subscriptions to academic databases and digital literature collections so that students can access and use material from the library – even when they can’t get to the library. There are also a multitude of free resources that provide access to quality literature and vetted information that can be linked from the Library website.
  3. Maker spaces (both physical and digital) – Repurpose the space freed up from having fewer physical books into spaces for students to use to create new works from synthesized information, knowledge and skills. Students can also use the space to co-create and share projects and performances or to learn a new skills. Read “Stocking Up School Makerspaces” for advice and ideas for creating a great school makerspace.

Resources

Manifesto for 21st Century Teacher Librarians: http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/2011/05/01/manifesto-for-21st-century-teacher-librarians/

How to Create the 21st Century School Library of Your Dreams: http://www.slj.com/2011/04/industry-news/divine-design-how-to-create-the-21st-century-school-library-of-your-dreams/

21st Century Libraries Learning Commons: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/21st-century-libraries-learning-commons-beth-holland

Institute of Museum and Library Services. 21st Century Skills: http://www.imls.gov/about/21stcskills.aspx

Makzine.com “Stocking Up School Makerspaces”: http://makezine.com/2013/08/21/stocking-up-school-makerspaces/

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