Adventures in Libraryland

My journey into librarianship.

Book Review – Building a Learning Commons

Koechlin, C., Rosenfeld, E., & Loertscher, D. V. (2010). Building the learning commons: A guide for school administrators and learning leadership teams. Salt Lake City, UT: Hi Willow Research & Publishing.

Are you sensing a trend?  You should be.  Where The New Learning Commons: Where Learners Win! is theory, Building a Learning Commons is practice.  If you’ve read the first, the theoretical background in Building is the sparks notes version and a very quick read.  The true value in this book is in the lists, charts and ideas for getting the ball rolling.  The truth is, this must have been an incredibly hard book to write as everyone’s situation is complete different.  Thinking through a variety of scenarios and coming up with relevant plans for progress must be challenging.  Sprinkled throughout the book are stories of how others have made the move and the multiple ways that they came to a Learning Commons that was right for their situations at the time that they made the move.

Probably the biggest idea I came away with was the realization that the move to a Learning Commons is not always a large expenditure of cash and a move to reinvent the space over night.  I’ve looked at a variety of situations and, although I am more blessed than many with resources, become frustrated that I can get to this new and exciting place, NOW.  I like the idea of shifting the philosophy first so that a need is developed for the restructuring of space.  Suggestions are given for baby steps and the full meal deal and a variety of steps in between.

This is not a book to read cover to cover.  This is a book to write on, doodle all over, throw photos and notes into and work with as you make the transition.  If you are looking for the in-depth explanation of Koechlin, Rosenfeld and Loertscher’s concept of the Learning Commons, digest The New Learning Commons….  If you know what you need, and are looking for help getting there, work with Building the Learning Commons.

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