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The Library Shift to a Learning Commons, An Article Review

Updated on February 22, 2015
Rosie writes profile image

Rosie is a library media specialist. An avid reader and life-long learner, Rosie enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise in many areas.

Article Bibliography

Toward a Learning Commons: My Journey; Your Journey. By: WHITE, BRUCE. Teacher Librarian , Feb 2011, Vol. 38 Issue 3, p 27-30.



This article begins with a description of what the school library has now become and how the users have changed. The library has become a learning commons and the students are accessing information differently. Students and teachers learn collaboratively and absorb information through multiple sources, many being virtual places, beyond the walls of the classroom or library. Helping teachers to use tools such as differentiated instruction, Instructional intelligence, Understanding by Design, ebooks and electronic databases, has become the teacher-librarian role in getting the student where they need to go.

It is important for librarians to acquire the skill sets that go along with the new tools of technology available today. Our libraries may look similar to what they were before, but they now have less books and more technology including ebooks and computers with web-based resources.

Learners need to feel that the learning commons space is their space. Mr. White, the author, conducted a survey with 9th grade students to gauge their use of technology and resources in the library. The author states that not everyone wants to get information from computers, so books are important. White says, “I have tried to make the learning commons not so much a grocery store for information but rather a master chef's kitchen whose owner likes to cook a variety of dishes.” In this way he provides the technology, books, ebooks, software, and more, creating a host of resources for today’s users. In conclusion, White’s library has shifted to a library commons by extending hours before and after school, promoting collaboration with teachers and students, providing ongoing communication with teachers about available resources, adding comfortable student seating, enacting means of receiving student input via surveys and suggestions, and by adding new and up-to-date technologies.

What Is a Learning Commons?

The Important Part

Creating a successful 21st century library environment requires excellent leadership and management skills. From making decisions about the collection to promoting collaboration within the walls, a successful fully functioning library commons takes a huge effort to create. Ensuring that up-to-date technologies are in place and that students are accessing them as well as students’ needs are being met, requires data collection through surveys and open communication.


I will use this information by following White’s footsteps in my efforts to create a successful library commons. There are several things to keep in mind and all areas need to be addressed. White explains how all of the elements to creating a successful library commons are important and effort to put these things into place will provide great benefits.


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    • Rosie writes profile imageAUTHOR

      Rosie writes 

      4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks AliciaC. I am almost finished with my Library Media Specialist endorsement, which will enable me to be a librarian in grades K-12. I am shifted from teacher to librarian. :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This hub is both interesting and useful, Rosie. Thanks for sharing the information.


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