Welcome to the Minshew Elementary Learning Commons; formally known as the Library Media Center. Today’s Learning Commons is designed to serve all members of the Minshew community and is very different than the library you or I may have experienced in our schooldays. Students still visit the Learning Commons to gather reading and research materials, however, the environment and way our students use the library has changed in many ways. This introduction will explain the philosophy behind these changes and also show how daily instruction can be supported by the Learning Commons.
Learning Commons Mission:
The mission of the Minshew Learning Commons is to ensure that students and staff are effective evaluators, users, and communicators of ideas and information, enabling them to be literate life-long learners.
Learning Commons Staff:
- Angie McNally – Media Resource Specialist
- Cecilia Stewart – Circulation Aide
Learning Commons Hours
Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Student Loan Period – 2 weeks
Student Checkout Limits –
- Kindergarten – 1 items
- First Grade – 2 items
- Second Grade – 2 items
- Third Grade – 3 items
- Fourth Grade – 3 items
- Fifth Grade – 3 items
Parent Loan Period- 2 weeks
Parent Checkout Limit – 5 items
Teacher Checkout Limit – Unlimited
“Twice in this century, school libraries have undergone a major redesign. The first was in the 1960s when book libraries had to be rethought to include a new wave of audiovisual devices and software. The second began in the 1980′s with the proliferation of the microcomputer, computer networks and finally the Internet. The first redesign required only a shift in contents. The second requires an entire rethinking.” – Reinvent Your School’s Library in the Age of Technology
This statement describes the changes that have occurred in school libraries well. When school libraries were first established they were a storehouse for circulating books and reading material to students and staff. At this time, students and staff went to the library to gather materials.
Then, after inventions such as the overhead and tape recorder, the Library became a central location to checkout and find support for “technology” or AV equipment. Again, students and staff went to the library to gather materials.
In the last few years with the explosion of information and tools……….the Internet , electronic devices, and computers became a common daily tool for instruction in the library AND in the classroom. Today’s Learning Commons is still a standard “hub” where staff and students visit to use a wide variety of materials. BUT….now the Media Resource Specialist is one who welcomes visitors to the Learning Commons and also makes trips to classrooms where collaboration, teaming, and instruction can take place.
We are very fortunate to be working for a district which embraces this philosophy.
One major difference when comparing school libraries of the past with today’s Learning Commons is the way time in this area is scheduled. Classes no longer have a “weekly library time” or use the Learning Commons as a specials rotation. These methods only tie the Media Resource Specialist down for short term isolated instructional sessions, do not encourage M.R.S. and teacher collaboration, and do not allow a campus to utilize the M.R.S. to their full potential.
The new standard for scheduling time in the Learning Commons is called “Flexible Scheduling“. This type of time allotment allows:
- Students to visit the Learning Commons upon the point of need instead of only during scheduled visits.
- Classes to use the Learning Commons for research and production in larger time frames instead of one 30-45 minute session each week. Example, the 3rd grade language arts classes spend 2 hour long sessions working on the research process for their animal research project. The classroom teacher and the M.R.S. will be present to work collaboratively on this project.
- The M.R.S. to collaborate and plan with teachers during team planning sessions.
- The M.R.S. to have time for ordering materials based upon staff and campus needs.
- The M.R.S. to visit classrooms and give mini-lessons on information literacy skills as they integrate and relate to current instruction in the classroom.
- The M.R.S. to collaboratively plan, teach, and evaluate units of study with classroom teachers.
So how do you schedule time to use Learning Commons resources? Well…that’s the beauty of flexible scheduling! You have access to resources whenever you need them!