Odds are that your district already has some aspects of tomorrow’s school library, as today’s culture increasingly relies upon digital media.
The library media center at Simsbury High School in the Simsbury (Conn.) Public Schools, designed by Rolf Erikson, lead author of the book Designing a School Library Media Center for the Future, features two labs with 49 computers for classes plus 28 computers for general student use—a sign of the growing movement toward one-to-one computing in schools.
Winona High School’s library in the Winona Area (Minn.) Public School District evokes Barnes & Noble’s relaxing cafe in its layout, and future school libraries might try permitting snacks, as does the cybercafe at Cushing Academy and the Cougar Cafe, a coffee shop in the library at Centennial High School in the Williamson County (Tenn.) Schools.
David Loertscher, Library 2.0 advocate and author of The New Learning Commons, predicts that between the migration of reference works (and, in time, maybe other books) from print to digital media and the need to make room for collaborative groups and computers, there will be fewer bookshelves.
Loertscher also recommends that learning spaces be flexible and offer different configurations for groups of students. He advocates tables on wheels—“space that adapts to learners, not vice versa.” Above all, Loertscher predicts that the virtual (online) learning commons, which puts no space or time restrictions on students’ ability to get and to generate information, will become increasingly important.