Due to changes in technology and pedagogical expectations, school libraries are taking on new roles in supporting students and educators. MiEN Company is helping librarians and their colleagues consider what’ll be required of effective future libraries via a new white paper, “Do School Libraries Still Matter? Defining Form and Function of Future-Ready Libraries.”
The white paper explores the following questions:
- What does it mean to be future-ready?
- How are librarians responding to recalibrating their services and to the new physical spaces they need to accommodate changing student expectations for instruction and learning practices?
“Do School Libraries Still Matter?” answers the question in its title with an unequivocable yes. “Research has established a correlation between high-quality library programs and student achievement,” said Dr. Christina Counts, Vice President of Education for MiEN Company. “Full-time certified librarians have a positive impact on students’ scores for standards-based language arts, reading, and writing tests. And researchers found that a strong library program is most helpful to at-risk learners, including minority students, low-income students and students with disabilities.”
The white paper highlights the need for high-quality K-12 library programs by sharing the following:
- 75% of students have no idea how to locate articles and resources they need for research.
- 60% of students don’t verify the accuracy of reliability of the information they find.
- 44% of students do not know how to integrate knowledge from different sources.
“Do School Libraries Still Matter?” answers the two other questions by describing the school library of the future as a center of “knowledge curation and creation as well as knowledge consumption.” The white paper supports this vision by citing sources such as the “2017 Horizon Report Library Edition,” the Wiley Network, American Libraries magazine, Library Journal and more. It explains that these changes will help students learn core 21st century skills such as inquiry-based learning, higher-order critical thinking, collaboration, creation, curation and self-reflection. Readers will also find a sidebar listing the characteristics of future-ready librarians.
In addition, the white paper examines how school library spaces are changing in response to new learning demands. It states that libraries need flexible space that can transition from one for quiet, independent activities to one that can accommodate groups of various sizes doing collaborative work. It covers the different types of spaces that can be found in future-ready libraries – classrooms, commons, and specialized workspaces like maker spaces.
The paper cites research findings about space influencing people’s mood and behavior. It also explains that furniture configuration strongly affects how people engage each other. In addition, it contains a case study of how Charleston County School District (SC) modernized its libraries.
“Even simple updates, like multipurpose furniture, can help to future proof libraries by providing creating flexible space,” said Counts. “Modern and future libraries serve a multifaceted purpose, and their purpose will become even more multifaceted over time. With this white paper, we’ve shared information that’s critical to designing an update to an older library or designing a new library from scratch.”
To download a copy of the white paper please go to: https://miencompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/FutureLibraryK12-MiEN-2021-004.pdf.
The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.