FHSD Celebrates Innovation during National Library Week

Posted on 04/10/2017
FHSD Celebrates Innovation during National Library Week

The Francis Howell School District (FHSD) celebrates National Library Week April 10 – 14, and library media specialists are celebrating by looking ahead, to see what innovations will benefit students in the future. The theme this year is “libraries transform,” and the District celebrates by recognizing how libraries have transformed over the years into Learning Commons (LC), to equip students with a more diverse set of skills in problem solving and technology.

The goal of the LC is to provide a flexible, learner-centered space that encourages collaboration, inquiry, imagination, and creativity to deepen learning and to develop 21st century skills. In an age of virtual and augmented reality, mobile devices with the same (or more) functionality of a desktop computer, and programs that can bring LEGO robots to life, it’s imperative to share this knowledge with students to prepare them for the future. Now, that doesn’t sound like a job for traditional libraries, does it?

“The library has to transform to meet the growing needs of students,” said Library Media Specialist Andrea Head. “Our libraries have changed from the ‘quiet places’ where students were ‘shushed’ for talking too loudly, into these exciting, exuberant, welcoming spaces that are the hub of the school’s core activities.”

However, that doesn’t mean that books have been placed in storage – they are just one of many tools available in LCs. “Books are, and always will be, the staple of the LC,” said Head. “One of the goals of the LC is to provide not only the latest technology and books, but to provide students with insight on using databases for research on projects to prepare them for college-level research.”

As students adapt to changing technology, the LC must actively watch the trends to understand where it’s going, how to utilize it, and how students could gain value from it. The Learning Commons stands ready to provide these resources for students.

Fairmount Library Media Specialist Sandra Hendricks said, “If we want students to truly become critical thinkers and problem solvers, we have to push the envelope and play a larger role in their learning. That’s why we provide opportunities for students to come and simply create what they want through things such as STEM activities, breakout boxes, building electrical circuits, and even chess. In the coming years, as technology advances, it would be awesome to see LCs, District-wide, use virtual and augmented reality technology to simulate worldwide field trips for students.”

“I want our libraries to be innovative, current, and adaptive to meet the needs of students,” said Head. “As library media specialists, our roles are always changing. We also need to become integrators and pioneers of new technology, so that we can become the go-to for new tech, to provide resources for students and give teachers new ideas to implement tech in their classrooms.”

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