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School Library Culture or Teen Culture?

I wrote last spring about having been displaced from my post of many years (http://lbpsblib.org/?s=twenty+days).  After what seemed like the longest summer on record, numerous changes in decision-making led to several posts.  Now, I have the incredible good fortune to return to “my” school, “my” students, “my” library.  That means that I may evaluate our transformation towards a 21st century high-school library that began last year.

PCHS1Renovations have been completed.  New technology has been installed.  MakerSpace kits have been assembled.  Students no longer have to wait outside our doors in anticipation.

Plans are underway to celebrate with a “grand opening.”  It’s time to find out if the results meet the expectations of students and staff.  An informal survey was carried out to guide us through the transformation.  They asked for café seating, fresh colours and easily re-configurable furniture.  They asked for more sofas and more technology.  They wanted the opportunity to “do” more – not just to read more.PCHS2

Judging by the numbers of teenagers using the space on their own time and the increased number of class bookings, it appears that we have a winner!

Is that because of our particular school’s culture?  We are lucky to have students from many cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.  Is it because our school offers diverse academic programs to suit our students’ needs?  Many schools fit that description.  Or is it simply that we value getting to know our community and include them in our planning?  It’s important to learn what distinguishes one community from another.  It’s equally important to learn what we have in common to encourage that sense of community.

21st century libraries belong with 21st century learning.  Today’s cellphone-carrying, social-media-obsessed, tech-savvy teens have much in common with one another.  They look forward to the chance to share their 21st century ideas.  Let’s remember to include them in the planning.

Submitted by C.-A. Case, Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School

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