Learning Commons spaces The concept of the Learning Commons is relatively new to the Educational landscape, given that public lending libraries are approximately 2600 years old, as are some of the traditions of public school libraries! GCISD is on the leading edge of the Metroplex in this transition from a place that merely stores recorded knowledge to a place where new knowledge is created.

The learning commons turns the tradition on its head, resulting in an open, transparent space that invites communication, collaboration, and creativity within the guidance of teachers and the librarian.

Printed books are still vital to students, teachers, and the entire learning community, but digital access has broadened the scope of research and learning, freeing up library space to become a center for collaboration  and creativity. The best way to facilitate these new roles is to replace the heavy, wooden furniture that served us so well up through the 20th century with light, movable seating and shelving that allows flexibility in the physical environment.

There are spaces allowing for productive noise, areas for quiet contemplation, furniture that can be moved for those wanting greater accessibility, and furniture that stays put for those who need a little predictability. Students gather in small groups, come individually, with a teacher, or as a class. After all, everyone learns a little bit differently, so the more varieties of materials and environments, the better to meet the needs of all learners.

At its best, the learning commons becomes a creative learning hub, the heart of the school and the learning process, with yes, books still at the heart of the learning commons. Rather than engage in a debate as to whether print is better than digital, quiet is better than industrious, the learning commons says yes to all.

Some ideas for wording were gleaned from the following article on Edutopia.

“21st-Century Libraries: The Learning Commons” By Beth Holland, January 14, 2015