Love the “Unquiet Library”

Just read this article from American Libraries about Buffy Hamilton’s and Roxanne Johnson’s library at Creekview High School in Georgia:

This is the direction I’d like to go.  It feels overwhelming at the moment to think that we could ever get to this point.  But I want students, teachers and parents alike to see the possibilities what a library can be today, and not the library we grew up with, are familiar with, and in some ways have stopped thinking about because we’ve “been there, done that.”  There is far too much “oh yeah, a library, I know what they do there – not for me” going on.  I have wondered a lot about this – whether the mind’s eye scene of a quiet library with lovely books and the librarian as a paragon of order and control is comforting to some, and hard to give up.  There is a predictability that can be desirable in that paradigm.

Some bits from the article I particularly liked:

“When Friday morning arrives, the students are excited for their library session. They anticipate how they might use their cell phones. The librarian draws their attention to a Smart board and demonstrates how they can text to it. This technology enables them to submit answers simultaneously, fueling the class discussion. With a grand gesture, the librarian has transformed their social devices into instruments of learning.”

“Not only are the students excited about the library, but the faculty is buying in too. Last year Hamilton and Johnson collaboratively planned 100 lessons with teachers. A successful strategy has been to meet with a group of teachers of a particular subject and develop assignments together. This helps to cultivate relationships and positions the librarians as full members of the teaching team.”

I’m thinking of ways we can move in this direction without making it necessary for people to give up the more “comforting” memories of the libraries of the past.


About Paula Montrie

I am a Middle School Librarian at Friends School of Baltimore. I have been a librarian for 11 years, serving 6 years with the Howard County Public School System before arriving at my current school. I teach two classes: SpeechCraft (a combination of information literacy, public speaking and theater), and Media Literacy at the middle school level. I also collaboratively co-teach with a number of teachers at the school, including Music, Geography, and U.S. History. I love it! My professional interests are: information literacy, multiple intelligences and learning styles, teaching through movement, curriculum-writing, technology integration, and bridging the gap between digital natives and digital immigrants. My personal interests are: dancing, singing, knitting, sewing, art, living history, writing and of course - reading!
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3 Responses to Love the “Unquiet Library”

  1. whatedsaid says:

    This is great! When I went to school, I recall a teacher telling us that the library was the second holiest place after the church! We had to be quiet and respectful. In our new primary school building next year, most of the classrooms will be leading into the learning resource center (library). It will be the hub of learning, kids will be able to come and go as required for their learning inquiries, laptops (and books!) will be accessible to use there or take back to class. I love the way libraries are changing with the times! Will share your blog with our head of LRC.

    • Paula Montrie says:

      Thank you! And have fun with the new building design – it sounds wonderful. Also, I loved your “Top 10” post and all the ideas it generated.

  2. ktenkely says:

    Libraries have become synonymous with silence. I think this is comforting to those who grew up with the silent library. I suspect that for most students the silent library is uncomfortable. I love the idea of showing students what kind of amazing learning and resources are available in a library.

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