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Articles: Libraries

Bellevue School District in Washington transformed its one-story Sammamish High School into a three-story educational facility.

The completion of the Maywood Center for Enriched Studies, a grade 6 through 12 magnet school, marks the end of Los Angeles USD’s 14-year effort to add 131 new schools.

Digital library content spans fiction, nonfiction, test prep, professional development materials and more.

Overdrive’s catalog has 4 million ebooks, audiobooks and videos, and is used by 17,000 schools worldwide, says David Burleigh, the company’s director of brand.

Schools pick which titles they want access to, how many copies they want and for how long to lend them. Groups of schools can sign up together to share access.

Here’s a look at how administrators and their teams are redesigning libraries.

More relevant library: Students from Vista USD in southern California work on a project in their school makerspace.

Future Ready Librarians expands concepts of literacy—from books to tech to STEM. The initiative also drives the nationwide transformation of libraries, as librarians take the lead in creating makerspaces in their districts.

High school student interns at Frederick County Public Schools interview a teacher to learn pros and cons of the district’s next textbook adoption process.

Teaching research skills once meant asking students to turn stacks of library books into essays on the poetry of Emily Dickinson or the causes of the Civil War. But today, it’s just as likely to mean asking second-graders to design a museum exhibit on the physics of flight or encouraging a 10th-grader to make the case for backyard chicken coops.

Transforming school libraries into communal learning “playgrounds” offers students technology support, remote access to research resources and expanded opportunities for creative exploration. One of the biggest trends is “makerspaces” where students use their imaginations to create crafts, electronics, videos and other projects.

Providing students with the right academic resources is crucial to their success. Whether it’s finding printed books, e-books or other research materials, new software can help librarians organize materials and make them easy to find.

Second-graders at Walker Elementary School in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District use Follett’s Destiny Quest mobile app to locate digital resources in libraries and on Follett Shelf.

Taking away clerical work such as manual card cataloging and checking out books means librarians can spend more time working with students on research skills and digital literacy. With today’s automation software, librarians can give book recommendations and users need only a single portal to search for digital and print resources.

Though physical book collections are shrinking in many districts, the role of librarians or media specialists is expanding.

About one-third of public schools do not have a full-time, state-certified librarian.

Members of the American Library Association call it a national crisis, as colleges and careers increasingly require students to have expansive digital literacy skills. Some 20 percent of public school libraries do not have any full- or part-time state-certified librarians, according to a 2013 report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).