The noun describes a physical space where people are free to remain or move around. As a verb, it refers to the act of positioning items at a distance from each other.
When creating a physical space to initiate, support and enhance learning the purposeful creation of separate and well positioned spaces is an essential consideration. The first time I walked into the library and the space that is otherwise known as Hobsonville Point Secondary School, I was overwhelmed by the sense of freedom. Long wide hallways, and glassed in areas, everything is visible and everything has a space.
Within our library the aim is to create a welcoming space that oozes “come and be and discover things inside my walls”. This means that furniture on wheels, bean bags and squiggly couches are the norm for us. The ability to change the space between the elements of our library ensures that the freedom to make the space your own is achieved. But this leads to the question “why”?
Why are the shelves not in lines and desks surrounded by chairs set in rows?
Well, how does your brain learn – is it organised in long straight rows of filing cabinets filled with isolated pieces of information? Personally I see my brain more like a super highway with intertwining and interconnecting exits and entries.
I love the way that the brain links information together so it goes off on tangents, but then end up circling back to a better idea than the one you started with. The library is the ideal place for this to happen, it has everything; books, information specialists, the wide expanse of the internet and unhindered opportunity. Most of all it’s about connecting with each other.
It was a hugely historic and exciting day, we moved into our new school, the newest in our world with our foundation students. The culmination of the preparation work for our library hit home, when I saw the groups of students that entered the library space with a sense of awe throughout the day.
The way that they poured over the books and the smiles that lit up their faces, made this journey real.