Thursday, October 22, 2015

Getting REaL In The Library

R-Reflect, Revise, Reinvent
E-Evaluate, Energize, Expectations
L-Listen, Lead, Love, Laughter

This year I returned to the high school library full of ideas gathered from my PLN (Professional Learning Network) I hoped to implement.  Two ideas I have implemented, with the help of my library aide, Kim Johnson, and my student aides each block, are creating a MakerSpace and Genrefying the library fiction collection. 

Designing the MakerSpace started before I had a chance to meet and get to know the students in my new school.  I plowed through blog after blog from my PLN about MakerSpaces in the School Library and contacted a few friends to ask clarifying questions, crowdsourced ideas, suggestions and equipment.  Once students arrived the real work began.  First, I had to step out and "sell" the MakerSpace.  This meant finding kids and saying, "Have you heard of Google Cardboard? It is so COOL! Let me show you!"  "Come here! We just got Cubelets in the library! Look what you can do with them!"  "Don't you want to play the piano with bananas?"

As students became comfortable with not only talking in the library but relaxing, socializing, tinkering, creating, and exploring, I not only interacted...I watched.  As I watched I noted what areas of the MakerSpace attracted the students in my new school and which areas fell flat.  After a visit from the talented MakerSpace/Librarian guru, Wendy Cope, I revised the look and feel of the library MakerSpace with just a few simple changes.  I moved the green screen out of a back room in the library to the center of the library MakerSpace.  I also added popular board games and card games to the MakerSpace.  

After a few more weeks we received our LittleBits Kits which lead to more changes in the library MakerSpace.  I had my student aides use the LittleBits Kits to create interactive arts & crafts, thus leading me to move the "robotics" tables next to the arts & crafts area in the MakerSpace.  By having examples of what you can do with LittleBits out on the table students were more willing to jump in and try to make a creation of their own.

I also brought in a Wii and a flat screen TV from my house that I never use.  This has been the biggest hit in our library MakerSpace so far.  I absolutely love watching how animated the kids get as they play sports or dance their hearts out! 


The genrification of the library will be a year long process but the big task of moving, sorting and reshelving the books was accomplished in the first 19 days of school.  Student library aides were essential to the process of assigning books to genres but the assigning of genres have not been written in stone.  As students discover the new arrangement of books in the library we are open to and have received suggestions of the genre a book or books should be a part of.

As the library was genrefied it became clear what genres we needed to grow. When creating our first book order of the year we took into account not only the areas that genrefication had revealed to be weak, we also asked for input from students and teachers.

Just in our 2nd 9 weeks of school I have not only listened to the verbal and interactive (mostly through Google Forms) responses from our library patrons I have also tried to listen to non verbal cues as well and make changes accordingly.

Let's get REaL.  Changes to what is happening in the library will always occur if I am truly listening to the needs of our patrons.  Riding those ebbs and flows and rising to the challenges presented will make for a fun ride this year.

An area I hope to improve that has been somewhat pushed to the back burner this year is connecting and collaborating with the teachers at my new school.  I think this can start by partnering with our inspiring Instructional Partner, Kristi Combs.

Follow our adventures and growing pains throughout the school year though our various social media accounts, including SnapChat!

Take a glimpse into our library fun HERE or below.

JCHS Library MakerSpace