From the Principal

The Dawson Library: A Modern Learning Space

Have you been inside the Dawson Library? When?

If you have not been in there recently, you might be in for a bit of a surprise!

In the past our library looked a bit like this picture – all books, shelves and few/no people!

In many schools the library is a place of stern silence, where you go if it’s raining or you want to “hide out” (instead of going to class).

A place where you are watched like a hawk in case you speak or touch something.

The Dawson Library is not like that!

Our library is a people place, a learning space with a welcoming feel. It is a comfortable place, an adaptable space and somewhere you know that there are talented people, who actually like you, ready to help you learn.

Our website makes it clear what we are creating:

Dawson Library
Centrally located within the school campus, the Dawson Library is a flexible and dynamic space where students can learn, explore, create and have fun!

The Dawson Library is staffed by our friendly iAssist team who help students and staff access traditional and digital resources. The iAssist team are the frontline for IT support and help drive many of the school’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) initiatives.

Let me also tell you that the Dawson library is not the quietest library I have ever been in!

On any given day, at any given time, it will be full of a range of students of different ages, doing different activities like:

  • Reading
  • Studying
  • Robotics
  • Researching
  • Playing (Educationally)
  • Sharing
  • Doing group work
  • Catching up on homework
  • Getting help with homework, literacy or numeracy skills
  • Asking questions etc etc.

The Dawson Library looks like this:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Changing the library’s functions, appearance and priorities have been a part of our evolution, designed to make learning at SCAS engaging and responsive to the needs of our students, now and in the future.  That means we have had to start thinking in ways that are seen as a “break with tradition”. This means adapting what we do in terms of head space and physical space to suit the needs of the students, not just holding on to old ways of doing things.

“Schools are not constructed to meet the realities of today’s modern learners and workers. Schools were built for a time when access to knowledge, information and teachers was scarce, restricted to what we could  find in our local libraries and communities. But with the advent of the Web and our growing abundant access to all of those things, the form and function of schools is now in question as the needs of our students begin to shift in some dramatic, important ways.”  Next Generation Leadership

Our Library, like our world, has changed, and in modern educational jargon would be more accurately described as a modern learning common:

Learning Commons Defined.  The Learning Commons is a student-centered physical and virtual learning space designed under the guiding principles of openness, flexibility, comfort, inspiration, and practicality. It fosters collaborative and independent active learning by providing technology, resources, and services that help to engage students and staff in the learning process. The library/learning common will strive to create active partnerships with other school units that incorporate campus-wide goals and objectives. The Learning Commons’ goal is to provide high quality services responsive to the changing cultural, research, and informational needs of our community and functional, flexible, inviting, safe, technology-equipped learning spaces.

If you have not had the opportunity to visit our Library and see the changes, I offer an invitation to do so.

It is a place that has moved  far from the stuffy image many of us have of the “old school library.”  After much planning, thinking, foresight and hard work, it is now a space of which the school is rightly proud. A space that truly reflects our vision for SCAS and its students.

You will find it a place full of joyous sounds and multiple ways of assisting learning, where helpful staff possessing amazing talents are there to help you.

Related posts
From the Principal

Who is teaching what?

From the Principal

Think before you attack

From the Principal

Educating for the future

From the Principal

Principal's Blog