The Great Library Makeover: Part 2

Students using our new tables and chairs during 6th grade STEAM club

Students using our new tables and chairs during 6th grade STEAM club

Back in August I blogged Part 1 of how we’ve been making over our library this year.  We’ve been really busy since then with lots of good changes, including new computers and narrower library shelves in the fiction section.  Part 2 is going to focus more on our new flexible, collaborative instruction space.  Part 3 will be about our Maker Corner.

Our new Bretford tables

Our new Bretford tables

I first blogged about receiving our Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant back in May.  At the beginning of this year, we got our new tables and chairs in, and they’ve really transformed our learning space.  As a refresher, here’s what the new tables and chairs are:

We also got a Bretford Explore 4-leg Scale-up table, but I haven’t taken any pictures of it yet.

The new tables and chairs offer a variety of layouts

The new tables and chairs offer a variety of layouts

My library is pretty small, and my school doesn’t have an auditorium or large meeting room, so our instruction space has to be super flexible.  All the new tables are on casters, and all the chairs can stack, making it considerably easier to rearrange and reset the area.  I’ve been experimenting with different layouts.  Already we’ve had a theater layout for video conferencing, small group layout for classes, and conference style for meetings.  My principal also purchased an interactive short throw projector to go over our whiteboard (which we moved here from the copy room after taking down some bookshelves).  Once the projector is installed, we’ll have even more space since the presentation cart won’t have to be in the middle of the floor.

Our new tables in action

Our new tables in action

My students have been loving the new space.  Already I’ve seen them taking ownership of it – using the whiteboards to jot notes for homework, moving chairs around to different groups.  They haven’t really started rearranging the tables themselves yet  – I think the fact that the chairs aren’t on casters is hindering this.  I’m looking into some grants to get chairs on casters – I’ll move the blue ones over to the computer lab when we get that.

Another thing I noticed was that, at first, my students didn’t realize that the corner tables were whiteboards.  I put out some dry erase markers last week, and now they’ve started using them to brainstorm more.   I plan on working the tables into lessons as well.

Overall, I love how our new furniture has increased the activity and flexibility of our space, and I’m excited to continue to make more changes and tweaks to make our environment even more student friendly.

What changes would you love to make to your library instruction space if money was no object?


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is a middle school media specialist/teacher librarian in Tampa, FL. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves (to be published August 2017). She is also the author of the forthcoming ISTE book, Reimagining Library Spaces.

Comments

  1. […] we created a whiteboard wall in our library as a part of our Makerspace.  Around the same time, we gave our instructional space a makeover which included four Bretford quarter round tables with whiteboard tops.  Later in the year, we […]

  2. […] years, from weeding aggressively and removing shelves to starting our makerspace and getting our Lowes Toolbox grant.  I also took a look at learning space design theory and how that can inform how we rethink our […]

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