Transforming School Libraries to Learning Commons

The broad role of education in the JK-12 sector is to build the capacity of learners to make sense of the world around them, to graduate good citizens in a democratic society, and to prepare our youth for successful careers and healthy, satisfying personal lives. Empowering students to learn ‘how-to-learn’ and to engage them in continuous self-improvement is the challenge for educators.

Our increasingly networked world presents complexities for learning unknown just a few years ago, but at the same time offers fresh opportunities. Learning in ever-changing environments demands new ways of educating – a focus on inquiry, creative and critical thinking, multiple literacies, and working together to meet shared goals and knowledge building. Evolving learning approaches and definitions of learning success are the new realities, with the consequent need for creating innovative learning environments.

Within almost every school in Canada there is a library facility, poised on the cusp of reinventing itself to address these challenges. This document provides standards to gude the transformation of school libraries to create future-oriented hubs of learning, innovation, and knowledge creation.

The Standards of practice for school library learning commons in Canada are framed around five core standards of practice that put school libraries at the centre of school improvement. They are intended as a guide for the journey from the more traditional school library program to the whole-school learning commons approach of participatory learning. The deep and enduring value is realized when the whole school moves through the process together – participants supporting each other and building on each other’s thoughts and ideas to push further than each team member could individually. Whereas the focus of the library program in the past was on building strong collections of resources and assisting users to find and use them effectively, the goal now is to build learning communities and make connections among learners, thus facilitating knowledge creation in the school community.

The standards were collaboratively developed over a two year period by a concerned and knowledgeable team, representative of almost every part of Canada. This work is a critical investment in Canada’s future.

What is the Reality in Canada?