Innovation Labs, Makerspaces, and Learning Commons - Page 4

Libraries and Learning Commons

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September 28, 2017: Online Conference on Libraries and Makerspaces, Library 2.0 Network, Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 3 pm EDT. Watch live or watch recordings later.

February 17, 2017: Making GREAT Makerspaces: The 7 Attributes of a GREAT Makerspace, by Laura Fleming
June 3, 2015: Creating School Library Makerspaces, Essay/Report by Glenda Morris, Charles Sturt University, Australia. Twitter: @jasmont1
\May 27, 2015: School Librarians Push for More 'Maker Spaces'; Movement fuels PBL, Education Week, May 13, 2015
April 2, 2015: Defining Makerspaces: Part 1, Blog by Diana L. Rendina, April 2, 2015
April 1, 2015: 21st-Century Libraries: The Learning Commons, by Beth Holland, edutopia, January 14, 2015
March, 2015: Video: Monticello High School Learning Commons Tour

April 9, 2014 - Several schools and school districts that I work with are showing great interest in the new Innovation Labs, Makerspaces, and Learning Commons arising in innovative 21st Century public and independent schools across the country. These new learning environments, sometimes a transformed library-media space, sometimes a centerpiece learning environment of a new STEM or STEAM program, go by many names - Innovation Labs, IDEA Labs, FabLabs, weCreate Centers, Learning Commons, etc. My colleague Chris Hazleton, from Fielding Nair International, calls them Curiosity Centers. These centers provide learning environments for students to work individually or collaboratively on entrepreneurial, STEM, STEAM, and Design Thinking projects. Each of these centers also provide programs and pedagogy that together with the new learning environments develop a culture of self-directed and self-assessing learners. On this page I have assembled information about the exemplar centers that I have learned about, for others to study. I will update this page continuously as new videos and other artifacts of these Innovation Labs and Makerspaces become available and I learn of new exemplars to add here. - Bob

1. Monticello High School’s Learning Commons, Albemarle County Public Schools, Charlottesville, VA


Joan Ackroyd and Mae Craddock, library media specialists at Monticello High School, "have seen the library evolve from a traditional, research- and reading-centered space that few students utilized to one where students and teachers flock to use the latest technology, collaborate on projects, and create content". The library today houses many different spaces - music studios, glassroom, maker spaces, hacker spaces, common areas, writer's cafe, and an open classroom.



Articles & Videos


2. The Idea Lab @ Gunn Library, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto, CA

Being named one of the Grand Prize winners in the 2013 Follett Challenge was an amazing experience for Meg Omainsky at Gunn High School. Omainsky worked for three years to overhaul an underused library into a hub of excitement and activity that gets students involved, enthused, and working every day on 21st century skills that equip them for college and career.



Articles & Videos


3. John Witherspoon Middle School, Princeton, NJ


The Learning Commons at John Witherspoon Middle School opened in September 2013. Six months earlier it had been a gymnasium! This speedy transformation from gym to Learning Commons took intensive collaborative effort between supportive administrators, district technology staff, and adventurous teachers and students. Walk through the process from conception to implementation, including the inspiration we took from other amazing library facilities and programs around the world.



Articles & Videos

  • Webinar Video: The Learning Commons: Inspiration & Implementation, ISTE SIGlib Webinar, March 19, 2014. Elissa Malespina interviews Carolyn Bailey, the Library Media Specialist at John Witherspoon Middle School in Princeton, NJ. The Learning Commons at John Witherspoon Middle School opened in September 2013. Includes excellent photos of the Learning Commons.


4. Resources for Libraries and Learning Commons

Articles & Reports



The New Learning Commons: Where Learners Win, By David V. Loertscher, Carol Koechlin, Sandi Zwaan.

Loertscher, Koechlin, and Zwaan team up in this book to rethink everything about the function and role of school libraries and computer labs.

Order at Amazon .

Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, By Sylvia Libow Martinez & Gary Stager. Buy at Amazon.

The Invent To Learn Guide to 3D Printing in the Classroom: Recipes for Success,
by David Thornburg, Norma Thornburg , Sara Armstrong. Foreword by Gary S. Stager.

Order at Amazon.

Design, Make, Play: Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators, edited by Margaret Honey, David E. Kanter. Buy at Amazon. Includes chapters by Dale Dougherty, Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski, Steve Zipkes, and Mitch Resnick.