The Learning Commons Philosophy on a Shoestring Budget

27 Aug










Our Librarians had the opportunity to listen to Ecole Broxton Park Principal Randy Heatherington and Librarian Wanda Pederson on this engaging topic.

There are several components that make up a Library Learning Commons:

  • The people and their roles
  • The facility and its use
  • The materials and formats
  • The network of support

People and Roles

Not only are the primary personnel, the librarians the mainstay of this group, but staff, students and administrators all have a role to play in engaging the various uses of a Library Learning Commons.


Traditional libraries were places filled with shelving units, some tables, some chairs and check out area. Eventually computer stations also became part of this landscape. And for the past decade, school libraries have seen a change in furniture, use of space and use of the materials.

Network of Support

Librarians in our school division are now meeting 5 times a year (every second month) as well as sharing information, ideas and asking questions via their email distribution list in our school division. However, there are other outside organizations that allow the opportunity to explore other ideas and possibilities such as The Library Network, ASLC, Journals, and Social Media. These are also the people as well as your school staff who will be able to help out with finding monies for special projects, how to plan a transformation of the library (next steps, grant monies, community buy-in, etc.)


Overall, Randy and Wanda stressed that a Library Learning Commons philosophy is built upon 4 main ideas:

  • Improved student achievement
  • Increased collaboration
  • Increased utilization rate
  • Habits for Life

Best of all, we can all do our part to make our library spaces one that reflects 21st century ideals!


More resources
1) The Learning Commons – Seven Simple Steps to Transform Your Library (great resource for Librarians wanting to change their environment)

2) Building a Learning Commons (planning guide for admin)

3) Social Readers – Promoting Reading in the 21st Century (50 specific project ideas for promoting reading in the classroom, school and library)

4) Alberta Education School Library Services Initiative

5) Together for Learning – School Libraries and the Emergence of the Learning Commons

6) Calgary Science School – School Library or Learning Commons blog



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