Power Up At Your Library Week, celebrated Oct. 1-5, is an opportunity to highlight how libraries promote technology, innovation, and creativity while also serving students’ educational, technological, and social needs.
Here are a few examples of how Northside ISD libraries at all levels are constantly evolving and powering student learning.
“The library is the biggest classroom in the school,” said Franklin ES librarian Karen Piedra. “It’s a place to communicate, collaborate, problem solve, cultivate passions, spark interests, and of course, promote a love of reading.”
With a LEGO wall and makerspace activities for tinkering and team work, there’s something for everyone at the Franklin ES library in addition to the traditional book offerings.
Third grader Ava Freeman is a daily library user and credits Piedra with introducing her to graphic novels which keep her coming back for more.
“I come in and want books, that’s my main concern,” Freeman said. “Other kids can play with the LEGOS.”
The library is also a community gathering space, often full of parent volunteers, and hosts family events like pre-school story time and book fairs to encourage literacy
Powered libraries are flexible learning spaces, but perhaps no school library is more flexible right now than the one at Rayburn Middle School. With the usual library space under construction for the school year, librarian Carrie Damon has relocated to two classrooms. She brought almost half the collection, 7,500 books, choosing the books that were most popular by circulation numbers. Though there’s not as much seating area, Damon can also take the library to classrooms with Chromebook carts and rolling shelves of books. She also walks around with her iPad to help students check out books.
“It’s pretty cool how they fit the library in here and she still brought half the books,” said seventh grader Empress Walker. “Mrs. Damon tries her hardest to make sure we have the books we need. I feel like she wants to be surrounded by books in here.”
And if a particular book is not part of the physical collection at the moment, Damon encourages students to take advantage of online options including Overdrive, NISD’s Digital Library, which is always available.
The Brennan High School library has undergone a physical transformation in recent years, with librarian Harry Ostlund removing shelving, streamlining the book collection and weeding out those that weren’t being utilized, and incorporating flexible seating areas.
Ostlund has plans to continue the evolution with the needs of students at the forefront. In fact, student voice and choice is a driving force in the culture of the library. At the student’s urging, the general library volume level is low with students voicing a preference for a quiet place to study, research, and read. There are spaces for collaboration and a higher volume level too, along with 3D printing and seating for entire classes.
In addition to working in the library during the school day, the 15 students on the Brennan Library Crew, take the lead on sharing their favorite books with their fellow students through video book reviews tweeted out on the Brennan Library account. They also host an annual Literacy Night, this year planned for Feb. 21, 2019, inviting elementary students to attend a free night of activities and book giveaways to encourage their love of reading.