During the past few years, High School West has transformed its library from a traditional space to a learning commons. The library features different sections based on student needs and includes areas for conversational study, quiet study and considerate study.
“We wanted to have a space where students could have quiet time to study or work on projects and collaborate together,” said High School West librarian Cathy Masrour. “These students are really learning 21st century skills here; and much of that work is being self-directed.”
For example, one area of the library features a 3D printer and gathered around the printer are some of the amazing student designs. Students have the ability to work on their areas of interest, create 3D projects and even mentor other students. More than a dozen student aides are available to assist in the library.
The learning commons allows for students to work autonomously and become collaborative and flexible in their learning. In the traditional learning space, a ninth grade English class spends the period sharing their independent book reviews. Another area of the library features a tower garden, a self-feeder-type planter that is cared for by the students. The planter self regulates on a timer for the proper amount of water and light.
The High School West library wants to make sure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information. It supports collaborative and independent learning. For example, one student recently created his own mini-computer that can be powered off of a small power bank using tutorials found online. The library’s emphasis is on the development of skills necessary for work and life in a global, increasingly digital world.