lived in.

One of my pet peeves is when teachers tell students to be quiet because this is a library. Not anymore, I say! These days the library is a dynamic learning environment. Despite the silence you remember from your childhood (when I got in trouble at both my school library and the public library for volume choices), libraries aren’t the fortresses of quiet that they used to be.

As our students’ use of technology changes our schools, the ways they use the library have shifted. This spring, as I did my inventory, I focused on moving books and furniture around to make things more inviting for my students. At one point it looked like this:

image

But now it looks more like this:

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Things are a little bit tidier and I am happy with how the space is being reinvented, but a few weeks ago I realized that my students don’t like for things to be too organized. When the books look too nice on the shelves, they are hesitant to mess with anything. All of us are afraid of what it looks like in that first picture, but my students don’t really like the second one, either. I have higher circulation and more students making connections with books when I keep the library somewhere in between. Not too cluttered but not too organized. Lived in.

“Lived-in” was also the phrase I used to describe the feeling of inhabiting my own body a little bit more. I needed the reminder that the goal is not perfection but being welcoming and comfortable while allowing for change and progress. I will take my loud and slightly messy library any day over a perfect, quiet one. Thankfully, it seems like my students feel the same way.

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