Gallery Room 2: Environments: Academic, Public, School, Museum, and More



Not all maker spaces and learning commons are the same. For the three main types of libraries (public, school and academic) there are different community and patrons needs that are unique to that type of library. In school libraries, the space and its tools focus on learning. In academic libraries the space focuses on workplace trends and technological advancements. For public libraries it’s about embracing a new kind of public library where information is not always retrieved solely from print resources, but including digital resources and the means to access them. Museums include makers spaces too and are side by side with libraries in terms of providing them.  The librarian must know their audience or the community their library reaches, and provide the learning commons and maker spaces based on their needs. (Rachel).

Public Libraries

Get a feeling for the various interpretations different institutions have created as a Learning commons concept:

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 8.37.13 PM“Big-Box Store Has New Life as an Airy Public Library in McAllen TX.” Key quote:  “Library administrators here embrace technology and anticipate a time when printed books are no longer the focal point. “Libraries over the past two decades have been changing — the old stereotype was of a hushed, dark building and a librarian with a bun and sweater set hushing everyone,” said Kate P. Horan, the library director. “They have evolved to be more of a community space.” (Scott:  This one isn’t just focused on learning commons, but I just loved the idea of taking an abandoned Walmart building and turning it into a library.  There are also some nice pictures here to get your imagination going (they even have a farmer’s market!): Shot 2015-04-06 at 8.48.45 PM

Library Learning Commons – by Jamie Johnson
The author has developed a Pinterest page showing pictures of various university library learning commons spaces.  Each photo tells where it’s found and how each learning commons is used. (Lucy)

“Breaking out of the library mold, in Boston and beyond”
(Seelye offers an interesting account of the efforts of many libraries to serve the changing needs of their patrons. The Boston Library, for example will include software and equipment to record music and create comic books. (–Scott)

Makerspaces in Libraries

Makerspace: Is It Right for Your Library?
What is a makerspace? What are some kinds of makerspace activities? How do you know if it’s right for your library? How do you tailor your activities to meet your demographics interests and/or physical spaces? How to you make connections to support operating a makerspace? [59:02]

The Library of the Future
How the makerspace works at her library for people young and old. Overview of activities, including oral histories and 3D printing. Beaufort County Library, South Carolina. [07:13]  This website provides a list of  US public libraries that have integrated a makerspace. Although it is not informative about makerspace having a list with public libraries makes it easier to see which public libraries have embraced the movement. (Adriana)

Interview with John Christianson a librarian at the Harold Washington Public Library Innovation Lab on February 2015

He describes the lab’s users, tools, programming, and essential odds and ends about upkeep and funding their makerspace.

Harold Washington Innovation Lab Photo Tour

A photo collection of the Harold Washington Innovation Lab space and equipment.

Harold Washington Innovation Lab photo tour from Sisi Medina

Academic Libraries

At Purdue University in west Lafayette, Indiana, the emphasis of the Commons is upon the various types of learning that is encouraged by the environment. This slide presentation explores college and workplace skill trends as informing development of learning commons, as well as skills that a digital age demands.   [contributed by Kate]

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 9.00.01 PMKaechele Library learning Commons (Interview with Librarians and information specialist Shannon Hyman and website link) In this interview Hyman discusses the purpose of learning commons for the Kaechele Elementary School. Describing it as taking and making premise, where students can check out materials but also create and and explore new things. Hyman also shares the project the students have done as well with some photographs. In addition, Hyman provides some useful advice for any school or library interested in proving a learning commons as well as to what she hopes the students learn from their experiences.   From the Kaechele LLC website, there is more information about their services as well as pictures. What is also clear is the relationship between the LLC and the teachers and parents. Providing a variety of information for parents to help their children, and encouraging the teachers to come in and use the space and fill out the form to reserve the space where teachers can explain their needs. Furthermore, the message is clear about the purpose of the space to help students be creative, learn, but also to be responsible and clean after they are done. It is clear that Hyman has had a lot experience and has learned innovative ways to promote the area as well to keep things organized. (Adriana)

Team-Based Ingenuity Supporting 21st Century Learners by Hutton, S., Davis, R. C., & Will, C. (2012). Collaborative Librarianship, 4(4), 149-164.
Journal article on how the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries offer Learning commons as a means of supporting active learning.  Describes collaborations with other campus entities to pool resources and collaborate.  Pictures and diagrams included. Using different campus sources and their feedback (library staff, technology department, instructors, and students) to create a successful and collaborative learning commons. (Sisi) May fit under #3.

College and University Regional Campus Learning Commons: Assessing to Meet Student Needs by Nancy Dryden and Shelley Goldstein
A study of a variety of assessment models to evaluate the learning commons features and services at the regional campuses at the University of Connecticut.  (Sisi)

Syracuse University Learning Commons (Digital Tour)
This video showcases the Syracuse University Library Learning Commons in New York. The video displays a dynamic perspective of what the learning commons at Syracuse University feels on any given day and the array of services available to its users (eg. Cafe, Computer Consultant, IT Services & Tools). (Santiago)

7 Things You Should Know About the Modern Learning Commona by Educause (2011)
This article provides answers to seven different question that pertain to the modern learning commons. Educause is a nonprofit membership association that support those individuals who lead, manage, and use information technology in higher education. (Santiago)

Old Dominion University, Learning Commons at Perry Library (2015)
This website from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA offers the user a plethora of resources that they can use to get acquainted with the library commons provided by their university. The website offers interactive media, a digital tour given by a current student showcasing the library commons open “basically 24 hours a day.” (Santiago)

Turner, A., Welch, B, & Reynolds, S. (2013). Learning Spaces in Academic Libraries – A Review of Evolving Trends. Australian Academic and Research Libraries, 44(4), 226-234.   Even though this article focuses on academic libraries in Australia, it still gives interesting information, and includes a literature review on the evolution of the libraries as learning spaces. (Molly)

Case Study in Reinventing Learning Commons, Florida State University, Instructional Systems (2013)
“Originally intended to be a versatile computer and media lab for instructional systems courses with a specialization in digital production and dissemination, the space was found to be less than Before & Afternurturing in its support of the original vision. The room was, in effect, designed without understanding the needed intent. Our goal was to provide a space for developing systems to evaluate how people learn, providing systems to help people engage in this learning. The lab needed to be deconstructed, literally and figuratively, from its austere and semi-functional layout into a more highly interactive studio; not simply individualized, but a highly social, context-dependent and collaborative achievement.”
Dawkins, J., & Shute, V. J. (2013). Stars vs. Clouds: Creating a Collaborative Commons Learning Space. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 4(2).

Effective Strategies for User Engagement, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (2013)
The HKUST Library “completed a Building Extension and the Learning Commons in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Using the Learning Commons as a case study, this paper reveals a number of insights on how to effectively engage different user groups within the university, partly helping to transform the Library into a more effective user platform.”
Chan, D. L., & Wong, G. K. (2013). If you build it, they will come: An intra-institutional user engagement process in the Learning Commons. New library world, 114(1/2), 44-53.

School Libraries

K-12 Makerspace

Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia L. Martinez and Gary Stager, Ph.D, 2013, Constructing Modern Knowledge Press (Book)
Explores the idea of making as a powerful tool for learning (specifically K-12) . (Sisi) This might also go under #5

Using Makerspaces to Teach English Language Arts Common Core State Standards by Mollie Hall
Using makerspaces in school and public libraries to support STEM and ELA Common Core State Standards.  How these innovations can boost the teaching as well as be used to implement the new skills and strategies for teaching Common Core.  (Sisi)

Learning Commons on a Dime by Colleen Graves
This article provides an up and coming school librarian with the necessary information to develop or revitalized a school library/media center. Graves offers the reader four different steps that can be taken to improve a school library and providing its users the ability to flourish and become problem solvers and engage in their learning with the use of the library commons. (Santiago)

Teen Experts Guide to Makerspaces by Colleen Graves (2014)
One middle school librarian’s account of her successful efforts to engage teens in organizing and running a makerspace.
Graves, C. g. (2014). Teen experts guide: makerspace makeover. Knowledge Quest, 42(4), 8-13.

Ask, Create, Collaborate:  Creating Elementary Library Learning Commons PPT Presentation by Swerling, C., Karam, P., Leoleis, H., Mason, D., Packard, S. & Schoen, M. (2013)
This presentation gives elementary librarians and media center practitioners the ability to understand and create or update their current library commons. It provides guidelines, suggestions, and examples of thriving elementary library learning commons. (Santiago)

Library to Learning Commons by Brletic (2013)
This video showcases Principal Rosie Borboa of Brletic Elementary in Parlier Unified about their recent transition from library/media center to library commons. Beginning in February 2012 and continuously planning for the future, Brletic Elementary is an exemplary model for a Learning Common in Fresno County. (Santiago)

Digital Learning Commons by John Weldon Elementary (2015)
The website offers an example of what a digital learning commons for an elementary school can look like. The site offers an abundance of resources online that a user with the appropriate credentials can access remotely without having to physically be in the learning commons center. (Santiago)

Developing an Elementary School Learning Commons physical space (2012)
A short presentation about the ways that an antiquated library space can become an innovative learning commons that inspires it users to critically think and engage in their learning. (Santiago)


Community Hacker/Makerspace – Double Union – A Hacker/Makerspace for Women
“Our mission is to create a community workshop where women can work on projects in a comfortable, welcoming environment.” (Sisi)

Successful Implementation of Makerspaces, Maker Mania by Melissa Malon (2014)
Spotlights makerspaces at libraries and schools. “Makerspaces are dedicated areas designed for people to collaborate on projects; often, they also include the necessary materials and equipment for the design and building of projects. While makerspaces have been around for several years, they are becoming more popular than ever in academic libraries. The resources reviewed in this column include examples of successful makerspaces.”
Mallon, M. (2014). Maker Mania. Public Services Quarterly, 10(2), 115-124.

Talking Points: Museums, Libraries, and Maker Spaces
Includes examples of maker spaces in museums. “Through grant making, policy development, and research, we help communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning. ” A great look at how museums are providing maker spaces alongside libraries. (Rachel)

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