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Library Makeovers Helping Literacy

A New School Library can lead to an upswing in Book Borrowing and can become a social hub.


Schools that have invested in redesigning and refurbishing their library spaces are reporting the growth in reading and a sudden popularity of their library as a social hub.

The trend supports the Softlink Australian School Library Survey, which highlighted a positive relationship between a well resourced library and higher student literacy.
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Of course a well-resourced library also requires a dedicated Librarian or Teacher Librarian, with Australian findings showing that schools that invested in more teacher-librarians per student had higher scores for reading and literacy on NAPLAN.

As Queensland academic Dr Hillary Hughes points out, teacher-librarians enable students and teachers to use the library's resources and spaces to their fullest potential. Although many school libraries remain under-resourced, there has been a trend towards restoring old libraries that is producing startling results.

Abstract Graphic Books, Castles, Dragons

Daggy school libraries that were once almost empty, cramped and with outdated fittings are undergoing makeovers and welcoming scores - if not hundreds of students - during the lunch breaks.

Industry Viewpoints

Quantum Libraries Sales Manager, Colin Matthews, has been involved in library fitouts and furnishings for 31 years, and says the modern decor and new culture of school libraries is appealing to young people.

He describes the Libraries of the past as tombstones, with a hushed and reverent culture and heavy clunky shelving to match. "Today we have more of a soft approach to libraries", he says.

"It used to be that there were big tall rows of shelving and it used to be a museum-type attitude. But now library spaces are opening up, shelving is being lowered in height and there is a lot more curved shelving and furniture."

"The furnishings are softer and they are comfortable spaces for kids to go and snuggle down in the corner and read a book"

"It's more open to learning. There's more flexibility of furniture - there's more on wheels - which means the client can change libraries around on a regular basis and create more collaborative spaces to work out what appeals to their students.

One of the company's clients, St. Clare's Catholic College, Townsville, recently fitted out and furnished a newly built and architecturally designed library and is experiencing a surge in the uptake of books. Read Mary's Quantum Testimonial

St Clare's teacher librarian, Mary Hosking says more students are now borrowing reading material independently of class visits and parents are now borrowing books after school.

On top of that every class in the K-6 school visits the library weekly and students can take home up to four books each.

"We wanted to attract more students. More kids are borrowing during the lunch break. There's a positive feel to reading and it's getting that love of reading happening", she says

Students reading in a library

Article Re-print from Original Source with Links to Reference Material Added
Source : School News Issue 8 Term 2, 2018

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