Libraries: Obsolete or Evolving?

 Are libraries obsolete or evolving?

“K-12 Libraries are empowering learners through thoughtful design. No longer the hush-hush environment of yesteryear, the library has been slowly reinventing itself as the true hub of a school — a lively multipurpose and multimedia space.” 

by Catherine Sweeney, Catapult Inc. 

Ideally, libraries are welcoming and universally accessible with an innate gravitational pull to draw in students and teachers alike. The library as learning commons fosters inquiry-based learning and collaboration alongside quiet contemplation. What was once considered a repository for books, the K-12 school library presents an opportunity to encourage and foster the excitement of learning and to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual learning spheres.  There are obvious challenges with retrofitting an old library into a more versatile, fluid space or creating a new one with budgets to balance and many needs to accommodate. Virtual learning and new technologies now require much consideration, but some basic must-haves remain unchanged: accessibility, ample seating, appropriate wiring and lighting, and, of course, a place to house, display and checkout print materials. 

We spoke with various stakeholders and experts to discuss how the footprint of our libraries influence, if not direct, this new adaptive mindset? How can we alter existing libraries and design new ones that address this philosophical shift?