Monday, February 9, 2015

The Media Center/ Library: Hub of Creativity and Collaboration

Creating a library/media center with learning spaces conducive to collaboration and communication is essential for the library/media center of today.  Today’s students use the library/media center as more than a place for research. It is a place to utilize books, media, and digital tools to create, collaboration, and discover.  The library/media center at Lewis and Clark Middle School is the heart of creativity. It is centrally located in the middle of the building for easy access by all classes. The addition of iPads and Mac Airs increased the strength of the heartbeat.

Pat Smith, Librarian/Media Specialist at Lewis and Clark Middle School, and Roxie Kelly, Library/Media para, have developed a culture that meets the unique needs of middle school students and teachers.  Reinventing the library/media center space has been accomplished at little or no cost.  Learning spaces can be created easily to accommodate large groups, small groups, and individual work.  While the expectations of learning are high, there is also an emphasis on creation, innovation and collaboration.  Students are encouraged to move around, group and regroup themselves, and share ideas while using all the resources the library/media center has to offer.

Using iPads in the library/media center is part of the culture at Lewis and Clark. Students and staff seamlessly weave technology into their daily routine. Teachers can and do expect students to use the iPads or laptops for research, most often using Destiny as the gateway to the Internet.

When developing lesson plans, teachers choose technology as an option for students to demonstrate their learning. iMovie, iMovie Trailer, Haiku Deck, Explain Everything, Pic Collage, Keynote, WebMD, Accelerated Reader and Destiny are some of the most used applications.  Along with all of the tools and resources available in the library/media center, there is a green screen studio, fondly named Studio 3B. Recently, Mr. Bradley, an English teacher, had his students recreate a play based on the Twilight Zone using the green screen app Doink and Studio 3B. Also, eighth grade language arts students created digital books about a favorite author with the app Book Creator.

Here are some impressive numbers on the utilization of technology:

iPad usage at Lewis and Clark for 1st semester during regularly scheduled classes exceeded 5300 students. Also, 332 students dropped into the library/media center during Guided Study to take AR quizzes and use the iPads for research and projects.

Desktop Lab 130 - 335 class periods
Desktop Lab 131 - 270 class periods
MacAir Cart A - 372 class periods
MacAir Cart B - 394 class periods

Out of 648 class periods available during 1st semester, 424 were scheduled with classes. Communication and collaboration between the media center staff and the teaching staff is encouraged and sought after. The primary reason we do not use Google Calendar or another online scheduling tool to schedule time in the media center/computer labs is so that we can have one to one conversations with the teachers. This enables us to delve into the needs of the individual teacher and inquire about what the library/media center can provide in terms of suggestions and support.

The above statistics translate to approximately 9800 students served during the 1st semester. These statistics do not include drop-ins, as students are not tracked in 9th period Guided Study or other periods of the day.

Regardless of the time of day, the library/media center is full of students collaborating and creating with a variety of resources.  The heart of the school beats strong and flows into all curricular areas.  How are you utilizing your media center?  How does your  librarian/media specialist establish a culture of creation and collaboration in your building?

Written by Jeanette Carlson (@mrsjcarlson), Ann Feldmann (@annfeldmann1), and Jennifer Krzystowczyk (@jennykbps) in conjunction with Pat Smith.


  1. I am continually amazed at how exciting our school is. Our teachers are so in tune with the students, meeting their individual needs on a daily basis. Kudos to Pat Smith and Roxie Kelly for keeping our heart beating! I love working at Lewis & Clark Middle School!!!
    Amy Rohlfs, Counselor

  2. WOW! Pat has created and designed the ideal library! Her talents have benefitted all students and staff at Lewis and Clark, and the librarians in the Bellevue Public Schools. It is wonderful to know my students at Bellevue Elementary will benefit from Pat's guidance in the future.