Transforming School Library Practice in Small Schools

WebJunction /

OCLC’s mentorship of the Transforming School Library Practice program began in fall of 2019 with the first cohort of ten libraries. A second round began in September of 2020, working with five additional grantees. Each grantee has defined a transformation path based on their community’s unique needs, yet with the common thread of increasing student self-direction through exploration and collaborative problem-solving.

The ten school library grantees in round one of WebJunction’s mentor cohort are:

Aurora Public School East Side District #131, Aurora, Illinois
This is an opportunity to transform the physical library space as well as teachers’ and students’ attitudes to create a true Learning Commons/Learning Lab--a hub for interest-driven, self-directed, inquiry-based learning in which the library staff function as partners to classroom teachers and build links with parents.

Hillsboro-Deering School District, Hillsborough, New Hampshire
Our vision is to transform the school Library Media Center so that it can expand its capacity to support cross-disciplinary, inquiry-based, project-based methods of learning that use the resources of the library. We’d like to create an even more dynamic center of student learning where students are excited to come, and where they foster and develop their critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.

Fort Benton Schools School District 1, Benton, Montana
We intend to create a “makerspace” for the student body. Students will enhance their creative skills through self-expression and will improve their collaboration skills by working with others. It will change the way we teach and the way students learn, with structured learning assistance, peer-led team learning and cooperative learning skills.

Freedom Public School, Freedom, Oklahoma
We will reconfigure 3K square feet of space as a makerspace, with high-quality  materials  and supportive  technologies  to  help  enhance  student engagement. STEAM programs and a print-rich environment will help individuals identify problems, build models, learn and apply skills, revise ideas, and share new knowledge with others.

Laurens County School District 55, Laurens, South Carolina
Building on the success of a six-year STEM project, the district seeks to provide world class instructional opportunities for students. School libraries play a critical role supporting cross-disciplinary and inquiry-based methods of learning and fostering the development of 21st century skills. The district also recognizes the need for specialized professional development to position school library professionals as integral instructional partners with classroom teachers as they enhance the ability of libraries to become dynamic hubs for self-directed, inquiry-based learning.

Milford Central School District, Milford, New York
Our vision is to transform our library media center to connect the school and its community, support cross-disciplinary and inquiry-based methods of learning, create a dynamic hub for self-directed learning, and better prepare students for college and career. We will create a broadcast (video production) class that will connect the school with the community though daily or weekly news, announcements, and student created TED-Ed talks.

Orleans Central Supervisory Union, Barton, Vermont
The school and the larger supervisory union are in the process of making some significant systemwide shifts in teaching and learning toward more personalized learning, cross curricular skills, and proficiency based learning. We would like to add access and flexibility to our library program, implementing implement at least one collaborative, inquiry-based unit of study with each classroom teacher in the building.

Osage Hills Public School District (Osage County Interlocal Cooperative), Bartlesville, Oklahoma
We will promote lifelong learning by updating collections, providing access to digital content/resources, extending library hours, creating a physical environment conducive to inquiry and project-based learning, and offering professional development for the LMS and teachers.

Regional School Unit 63, Holden, Maine
Our goal is to provide increased literacy opportunities for our economically disadvantaged students. Students will benefit through participation in library classes, becoming interested in literacy, increasing their literacy skills, developing a life-long love of reading and learning, collaborating with classmates and peers, and integrating and connecting what they are reading and learning with real-world experiences while participating in library programs.

Worcester County Public Schools (Board of Education of Worcester County), Newark, Maryland
We will provide professional development opportunities to 12 librarians across our school district on how to use new technologies and teach students to think creatively and work in groups. Developing a unified set of strategies and recommendations will benefit all programs and impact all of the school libraries consistently.

The five school library grantees in round two of WebJunction’s mentor cohort are:

North Middle School, Great Falls, Montana
Our project involves reconfiguring our school library space to allow for collaborative and inquiry based learning opportunities and training our classroom teachers and librarians in how to collaborate with each other and how to design inquiry based learning to engage students. A new arrangement of the library, along with new technology, will facilitate our project goals. Professional development will build capacity in our staff so we can work together to increase student engagement and achievement.

Wahluke High School, Mattawa, Washington
C3(The Cube): Communication, Collaboration and Creativity in a Culturally Relevant Learning Commons addresses the IMLS project category "Transforming School Library Practices". This project will support the use of culturally relevant teaching practices at Wahluke High School, a school with a 95% Hispanic student population. For culturally and linguistically diverse students, educational inequities when students are not challenged to become independent learners. The C3 project builds on student assets, by transforming the currently unused library space into a learning commons, bringing together technology and resources now housed in various departments, along with flexible furniture and student artwork, to support multi-modal communication, collaboration and creativity. Teachers will receive support from librarians in inquiry-based student led practices that will increase learning engagement and invite the inclusion of more cultural connections to the existing curriculum.

Hominy Public Schools, Hominy, Oklahoma
Project Connect will improve and strengthen the school library’s ability to promote lifelong learning by providing access to digital content/resources through an online learning framework, extending library hours, creating a physical environment conducive to inquiry and project-based learning, and professional development for the LMS and teachers.

CeDin Laboratory School, Marginal Avenida Lomas Verdes, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Stargate to Innovative Learning Lab Center (ILLC) represents a forefront project to empower the transformation of CeDIn Laboratory School library into an innovative learning lab center.

Brooklyn Center Community School District, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
In this project, we plan to establish our libraries and library staff as integral partners in our community schools model. We aim to redevelop our library spaces as hubs of our school community by redesigning the physical spaces, overhauling the collections, and expanding our service hours to increase opportunities for both our students and community members to access and utilize the spaces.