Dominique Burns, INFO 233-10, Professors Buchanan and Harlan, Learning Journal Assignment Week 5
I love the reading from Valerie Diggs (2009) on libraries as learning commons. I think that the role of a library is to provide information and that information comes in many different forms. I find that it is hard to sometimes convince others of this notion and I also agree with Dr. Harlan (n.d.) that library stereotypes are “Deep in our cultural consciousness” (Learning Commons Lecture). However, I do think with time that our schools and communities will start to see libraries as more than a book warehouse. It’s why I am constantly pushing for non-stereotypical library events and programs in my own high school library.
In fact this last Friday we held our first ever high school open mic for the students in the library. More and more libraries are starting to implement these types of community events, which is why I wanted to do one in my own library. I think that an open mic night is the type of library event that reflects that the library is a learning commons. The event brought both staff and students into the library to work together. The students were also collaborating for weeks on short stories, poems, and music in the library.
I learned a lot as well from hosting this event. I’d never done an open mic night and found very few articles online about implementing one in a high school library. I did find one article from librarian Cathleen Ash (2014), who wrote a “how-to” guide based off of her own experiences. She described the steps she took towards implementing an open mic night in her high school library. I found it incredibly helpful and used a lot of her suggestions. I’m definitely grateful for the online community of librarians who blog about their events. It expands my own professional learning network when it comes to learning from other librarians. This event also gave me a chance to work with other staff members and students to bring the event in to fruition.
Besides gaining professional development from it, I felt like my students were able to learn from the experience as well (Koechlin, Zwaan, & Loertscher, 2008, p. 10). They had the opportunity to really take ownership of the library and I think that’s what made the event fun and successful. I truly loved seeing the library change from “book storage room” to an interactive learning commons. Since the event I have had more students working in the library, which has inspired me to start working on my next event… a video game evening in the library!