I had some amazing feedback on this blog post that got me thinking and reflecting on what I wrote. One response in particular was related to my comments on Libraries from Karen Clarke, a Library Manager at St Patrick’s College in Wellington, New Zealand.
In the blog post I said:
“Libraries and Books will be no more – I have already noticed the move away from this in the past few years. Everything once available in a library, is now accessible online – an entire library is literally able to be held in the palm of your hand. Copyright issues are quickly being sorted and companies like Google are working through logistics to ensure all paper material is available to be accessed online. Libraries will be replaced with quiet shared spaces to connect your device. Online books are even interactive which means you can read about Ancient China and feel like you are working on the Great Wall, all within your device”.
In response to this comment Karen got in touch with me and I was so inspired and excited by what she told me that I asked her to write a response blog post. Here is her response:
The Library of the Future
In 2025 the library will still be the main hub of the school. In truth the library of 2025 will not be that much changed from today’s libraries. In all libraries I have worked in, be it public or school libraries they have been multi-use facilities. The library of 2025 will have these qualities:
- A venue for research – Students, even though they will have their own devices, will still need to be guided through the myriad of information available. They will also need to be taught to be digital citizens (for more information on this click here).
- Venue for reading – Will we all be reading books online? That is up to the publishers but human beings still like to browse, to see books, touch books, sit and read slowly and deeply. Books will be on shelves. A text rich environment is still important for learning. Students like to peruse the shelves, the beauty of reading is where your reading will take you.
- The library will be flexible – Tables, chairs and shelves will move to fit in with what is required by teachers and students. Screens, TV’s and whiteboards will follow the students as they study. Areas will be designated for quiet study, something that students still say they want. Rooms will be available for movie making, recording of school projects and collaborative work. The day in the library will be longer as students and teachers use the library as needed. Before school, after, during holidays and even the weekends as required. For more information on Learning Spaces click here to read about “Transforming Learning Spaces” by classroom furniture expert Grant van der Kruk.
Image by Karen Clarke 2015
- Librarians will continue to be technology experts – Libraries will be used for teachers professional development, student learning and wider community technology training.
- Libraries will still be neutral places – Libraries have always been there for everyone. Libraries are open to all and have been places where people who otherwise have felt unsafe at school will find their place. Libraries have often been places of refuge for students who have not found their niche in school. This will not change in the future.
- 1:1 libraries – Not just 1:1 devices for all students but 1:1 libraries for all students. Every child that does not have access to a library is disadvantaged. There are many reasons some schools in New Zealand do not have a library. But all schools need to have access to such a dynamic learning resource run by an equally dynamic educating librarian.
I am not naïve to believe that all is right in the library sector at the moment. I know not all libraries have been created equal or all librarians. But instead of getting rid of an environment that works I think we should build an even better library. By supporting libraries we support our students and our communities. I for one think the future needs great libraries.
For more information on this please see the following articles:
Thank you to Karen for her response and for inspiring me to think more broadly about the classroom of the future. Please share this and respond with your thoughts on the Library of the Future.
Image by Karen Clarke 2015