Reimagining school libraries: Children’s perspectives and new opportunities

Year: 2013

Author: Bland, Derek, Willis, Jillian, Hughes, Hilary, Elliott Burns, Rayleigh

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The Federal Government’s recent Building the Education Revolution program resulted in, among other features, the creation of over 600 new school libraries in Queensland alone. This paper reports on a component of a research project carried out with students in six primary schools and one secondary school that benefitted from the program, investigating the influences of these new physical environments on learning and teaching. In particular, this paper discusses one missing voice from the design process - that of the students who would be key users of the newly-created spaces in those schools. While opportunities for real involvement in design were minimal for most potential users of the new spaces, students’ imagined possibilities for school libraries, as submitted to the research project, suggest that students could have contributed different perspectives to enhance learning engagement through imaginative design elements. The findings of the project have relevance for teachers and teacher librarians in reconsidering the ways in which the new learning spaces are used as well as informing school designers in planning engaging school facilities. The findings may be extrapolated to the design and planning of general classrooms and other learning environments.