Reinventing the HHS library


When’s the last time that you went to the library to actually read or check out a book? Today, the whole idea of high school libraries filled with aisles upon aisles of bookcases and silent students reading is not the norm.

With today’s technology, libraries are finding other ways to get students to this space.

“On average, about 15 people a day go to the library to read the books, and about 10 actually take out the books,” librarian Charleen Belcher said.

The need for the books in the library has decreased, so the high school is taking action and reinventing the area with the Learning Commons Model.

The idea is that the library is a full-service learning, research, and project space. Although there is still access to many books, the environment will be more focused on students being able to work together, create and collaborate.

“We are no longer ‘shushing’ people and have adapted to this different style in the library,” Belcher said. “We have TVs, couches, whiteboards, group tables, and also desks that are pulled away for students that want to work on their own.”

The environment attempts to suit every student’s needs and allows for different options. It brings together the functions of libraries, labs, lounges, and seminar areas in a single gathering place.

“We also are going to create a no-noise space in the library for those who like the quietness and like to work independently,” Belcher said.

The library was redone for the beginning of this school year, and students have nothing but positive feedback.

“The library is good for group work and independent work,” senior Isabelle Giordano said. “I never really used the books anyway, so I like that it is up-to-date and just overall more useful now.”

It was clear that the library is becoming less about just a housing of books and more about connecting students and building their knowledge into something more.

“I rarely would go to the library since I never checked out books or used the books, but now everything has changed, and I go there a good amount. It’s just an overall better environment to work in now,” sophomore Sydney Moran said.

Many of the students stated similar things, with similar intentions of going to the library for various reasons besides the books.

“I go to the library just to work and not really use the books,” junior Connor Delaney said. “I think the library is more welcoming now, and I like it way better.”

Although the costs of new furniture and televisions can be substantial, the commons makes it much more inviting for students.

“I go to the library a lot, I like to sit on the comfy chairs and hang out,” senior Toby White said.

The library has an arrangement of comfortable chairs with a little desk board for a space to do work.

“I like that I can talk to people and socialize at some points but also get my work done when I need to,” White said.

The idea for the future for this learning commons model is that it will continue to allow  students to share ideas and work together outside of the classroom. With that, a few downsides could come into play as well.

According to Educause Learning Initiative,  some downsides to the learning commons model is that there is no specific model of what the ideal learning commons should look like. It really can be anything the designers want.

Because of this flexibility, the design could potentially become a victim of its own success. During certain periods in the school day, the library could encounter areas that are overcrowded and because of that, scheduling procedures will need to be put into place.