‘Experience’ architects

The school library experience

To be pioneers in our field and active catalysts for the evolution of our profession, we must be very concerned with the school library ‘experience’. We must in fact consider ourselves as architects of experience.

The school library experience could come from reading a book, glancing at a poster or a piece of art on the wall, having a conversation, collaborating on a project or even from enjoying the view whilst sitting in a comfy chair. It is about students journeying where their needs and whims take them, and being exposed to the sounds and feelings that are unique to each part of the building. School library experiences should result, over time, in students who are informed, inspired, moved, expanded, challenged, encouraged, acknowledged and supported.

We ‘put it’ there

Every day, we arrange and rearrange our resources, services and people in different ways, for maximum impact. Sometimes this just ‘feels like a day job’, but in reality we are ‘putting things out there’ every day, so that a passing student can take it, see it, do it, hear it, feel it, and stop to think about it.

Managing with creativity and feeling

Thinking outside the box should be the default thinking mode for school library managers. My advice to anyone entering a school library management position, would be to truly tune in. Observe the students, hear the students (sometimes without them knowing) and sit in their chairs at different times of the day.

Shake up abandoned corners and keep things fresh, alive and special. Libraries should not be static and passive. They should not look the same from week to week.

Get your staff used to the idea of continual change and innovation, and invite them to expand their own creative thoughts into the environment. Students can really tell when the space is an extension of the staff’s motivation. Have a service delivery model and update it regularly, in-line with current student needs, trends and curiosities.