Modern library learning environments in Christchurch schools

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Principals and librarians in Christchurch schools share their journey of transformation from a traditional book hub to a dynamic modern library learning environment


Jane Boniface: Today's children are growing up and they're learning in a digital world where information is abundant and it's at their fingertips.

Andrea Knight: Our main purpose of our Learning Resource centre is to be promoting digital citizenship.

Mark Wilson: Modern leaning is about blended techniques, you still need to use the books and the reference material from a traditional sense but there's also the digital world as well and I think it's important for students to appreciate that both are actually equally important.

Sally Blake: It's all about being a place where people can come and find information and that information can be on anything. It can be in a book because we've still got books, we've got journals and all the rest of it. But it's on the internet, it's on databases, it's on your phone, it's in apps, it's everywhere.

Saskia Hill: Students and staff need access to resources - just in time rather than just in case.

Mark Wilson: The library ends up becoming quite a critical place, an information centre supporting the school's programme.

Our current library here at Cashmere High School has been substantially
refurbished and we're very grateful to our librarian Saskia and who was responsible in terms of
looking at the design and coming up with a lot of the concepts.

Saskia Hill: I came here and was able to approach senior management and say this is what I
want to do and this is why. Yes I mapped out the space, yes I told them what I was doing, but telling them why made them come on board.

Andrea Knight: It's vital to have the person and it's vital to have the facility. I came from a school where we had developed a multi purpose learning centre and that's what I wanted to do here at Heaton.

It has transformed what was a very traditional library environment to a far more modern one making the environment more vibrant, more interesting and more attractive, which is going to attract students in.

It's got different spaces that children can use - small groups, large groups. It's got the auditorium. The use of colours, the use of furniture, how things are actually you know organised and structured.

Jane has access to all the classes, they all come in. They all receive the same sorts of learning. And that gives her a really good idea where the skills of the students are, and the teachers. She's just got such skills at enthusing not only the students but the staff as well.

Jane Boniface: Now more than ever they need the expertise of an information specialist to help them navigate through this amazing information landscape and the qualified librarian is that
information specialist.

Saskia Hill: I do believe that we need to own the title of information specialist. I think we are information specialists, I think we are curators and that is a massive part of our role.

Student: Well our library is a really strong part of our school, it's a meeting place for people.
Students: We have the access right yet there to what we need.

Saskia Hill: It's a whare pukapuka, it's a hub, it's a destination in itself, it's also a place where we can gather all our knowledge and have it in one place accessible to everybody.

Mark Wilson: Parents and community groups are also coming into the library increasingly and using it as a meeting place, which again is opening up the library and again making it an area or a place, which has multi-uses in terms of not just being a place for books but it's a place for people where people can gather and access information and share ideas.

Saskia Hill:When we talk about equity of access we're talking about it on so many different levels. Physical access to the building, digital access to the building, to the resources or whether it's socio-economic access, whether we're providing resources that had not been
available in the home.

We're also providing for those disenfranchised students who may need support - those who
struggle with literacy and at the other end of the spectrum
those who excel and everywhere in between and that is our job to support students across that spectrum whatever their needs are.

And the role of the library in that is not just that safe place to come, but it's that safe place to come with that safe person to ask.