In an age of online interconnectivity, the value of a school library can be easily overlooked. But studies have shown that children and their teachers need library resources and the expertise of a librarian to succeed, and creating an appealing room to visit is crucial to ensuring its long-term place at the heart of educational establishments.
Aside from being a place of comfort, school libraries help students achieve academic success as well as boost their drive to learn. It is crucial to the teaching and learning process, serving students by providing materials to meet their various needs and encouraging reading. Research shows that the reading scores for students in schools that focus on improving their library programs are, on average, eight to 21 per cent higher than similar schools with no such development, which is why adequate collections in a well-presented and well-kept room can improve the school performance as a whole, as well as the academic performance of individuals.
School libraries help children to discover for themselves by independent study and learning how to ask questions. Creating a space which is receptive to these needs is really important, so we’ve compiled a few ways in which the school library can be revamped this summer to give it a new lease of life.
Accessibility is key to a library layout, and having designated areas for study, printing and someone available at all times to answer questions for students is really important. When considering the layout, think about ambiance and atmosphere, ensuring that the color (paint), furniture, sound/acoustics and lighting are welcoming and well synchronised. Information desks and signage should be clear, and details of services should be well presented and openly viewable.
Like a Google search, today’s youth demand quick and seamless access to the things they need. Books and resources should therefore be organised in such a way that pupils can have their hands on what they need within minutes of entering the library. Colour coding, breaking books into sections and utilising modern technology to catalogue collections are all great ways of placing the library’s resources at the fingertips of its users.
Finally, conducting a deep clean of the library is the best way to make the place look more presentable and appealing to students. Although dirt is hard to remove, an unattractive book seems less deserving of careful handling, and as much care as possible should be given to resources in the library. But more importantly, the general upkeep of the room is essential to the aesthetic appeal, and maintaining the cleaning schedule with contractors such as NViro could ensure students want to be studying in the library, as opposed to rushing in and out.
“The survival of the library as a space is not dependent on smart architecture (it may help though) – it is dependent on the ability of the library to meet the needs of people and convincingly add value to their lives”(Jens Thorhauge (2004)