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Before you renovate: check out Anne Weaver’s Potter Library renovation journey

Among the inspiring sessions I attended at EduTECH, was Anne Weaver’s session on Designing the Contemporary Library.

I had the opportunity to visit the Potter Library, attend a staff meeting, and watch the action on Destination Day. (Students and staff dressed in outfits representing where they’d most like to be, and so Anne greeted me in bunny pajamas.)

I was blown away by the thoughtful, student-centered design in the beautiful, flexible, colorful new space. The design considers the site’s urban environment and elements throughout connect with the school’s “Circle of Mercy” symbol. In learning commons style, chairs and tables are flexible and moveable and invite both individual and group work.  Whiteboards for brainstorming are everywhere. There are so many different types of spaces to meet every learning need.

What was truly inspiring was seeing the girls using the space created, the buzz was simply beautiful.  It’s hard to describe it all, so I’ll just let Anne show you around.

Anne describes the complete journey in her ReadingPower blog.

She tours us through the just-opened space in this video.

I asked Anne to reflect a little on the value (and the magic) of digital sharing.

With increasing demands on teacher-librarians and less staffing, we need to be able to do magic to connect our school communities with leaning resources. We have to look at sacred cows and if not murder them, send them to a paddock far, far away.

We have to look seriously how we spend our time and make ways to impact student learning, even if this means having to say we are too busy when the printers are playing up or something else is not working in the library. Our time allocation should be based on evidence based practise about what impacts on student learning. We need to share what we are doing much more (e.g. GlobalTL), so we do not keep recreating the wheel at every school.

We need to make resources that teachers and students can use over and over (e.g. Anne’s Curation presentation) and stop trying to go to every class to teach repeat lessons.  

We need to reach learners and staff where they connect e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email. So, it is expelliarmus and out with old habits; and focus on ones that work like flipping learning (as we do not not have flying broomsticks).

Hermione had a Time Turner so she could be in many places at once. By creating digital learning resources, teacher librarians can be in many places at once. A digital resource on how to reference can be used an infinite amount of times. So, we need to create this magic, by making resources or sharing resources already made, and connecting learners to these. We need to make pathways to knowledge through the Forbidden Forest.  It is a bit scary and different and our voice may sound weird on YouTube, but is doesn’t matter, because it is magic!

The slideshow document below shares Anne’s process with details, down to vendor names.  (I so want one of those All Hallows hats!)

Potter Library Renovation


Chairs on wheels have storage space for bags below




Tables can be reconfigured in so many ways!











For more on design, check out:

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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