Many people believe there is no place for a library in 2015. Computers, tablets and e-readers have replaced encyclopedias, reference books and novels. But there is a new concept in libraries. They have moved from store houses of information, to creative, collaborative contemporary places a hub for families, students, makers and gamers, at least that is the case at Melbourne Library Services Library @ the Dock in Docklands.
A Hybrid space for a hybrid location?
As you enter this library in the heart of a growing hybrid residential / business district you are greeted by the smell of fresh pastries and coffee, a café atmosphere instantly sets the tone as relaxed and inviting. Here conventional newspapers and magazines sit atop an enormous interactive desk where electronic newspapers and e-zines can be viewed. Novels sit side by side with computer terminals primed to download e-books and audio books, and the children’s library a haven of adventure where the interactive screens, hidey holes and picture books just seem to belong together.
All together this creates an environment where the conventional notion of a library can be challenged in a familiar context, the place and need for a library in 2015 can be realised. Many people have an entrenched view of librarians as cardigan wearing bookworms, when really they wouldn’t leave home without their 2 in 1 and their next big purchase is going to be a 3D printer.
What’s in it for Students?
Visiting the library in the early evening, the floors were full of students completing homework and study. The fast wi-fi, dedicated study space, as well as breakout rooms providing the perfect amenity to cater for individual and collaborative tasks. Yet in 2015 students are being asked to think in different ways, to innovate, to create. Can the library meet their needs? Stepping on to the top floor it felt more like I was on a cruise ship and not a library. Table tennis tables to get the creative juices flowing, a recording studio for budding filmmakers, music breakout rooms complete with virtual and physical equipment and wait for it a kitted out maker space complete with living and breathing ‘Creative Technologists’ who are passionate about everything to do with making and creating!
Need to learn how to code using an Intel® Galileo to create a gadget in Design and Technology?
Need to create a 3D printed image to add value to that Ancient History project…..the technologists are available to assist. Gaming for learning too takes centre stage with fully equipped consoles ready for action.
Only last week the library hosted a Mini Maker Day, filling the entire top floor of the space with innovators, coders and hackers, geeks in the best sense of the word. An awesome talent pool of connections for budding inventors and innovators.
Why is all this so important?
So…..what does all this have to do with education? It’s all about opportunity and equity. Libraries across the ages have provided patrons with access to resources and information they could not otherwise have access to. In 2015 that includes access to and power over technology and information. Students in 2015 who engage with libraries such as this one, have their ideas limited only by their imaginations.
What can you do in your School Library?
So what can schools and teacher librarians do? Embrace change! Many already have equipped with spaces just like or even better than this….but if you need some inspiration….Add a 3D printer to your budget for next year (or squeeze it in this year), negotiate to open your library after hours to provide more access, subscribe to online content and promote it to students, engage with your local library to leverage their physical and virtual resources.
A huge thankyou to the staff at the Library @ the Dock for their hospitality and the grand tour…it is seriously inspirational.
If you are interested in further resources and information to assist with innovating and inventing in your classroom or library, read more in Intel®’s Innovation toolbox.