Libraries have become more than a collection of books, and The Robert Tate Library is proving just that as the heart of Bishop Smith Catholic High School.
“It is one space in the school that all students utilize; it is a whole-community space that is accessible to everyone throughout the day,” notes Teacher-Librarian Natalie Jalette.
The library began its renovation journey with the goal of becoming the school’s ‘learning hub’ in October 2012. A team composed of Board and school administrators, student and teacher committees, a local contractor, interior decorator and architect worked together to develop a plan. Decisions were guided by Leading Learning, standards of practice of the Canadian Library Association, and Together for Learning, the Ontario School Library Association’s vision for the 21st century ‘learning commons’.
Inspired by the Board’s call to be global stewards who cherish the environment, cabinetry, desks and shelving were reused and repurposed as much as possible.
The layout and flow were changed to accommodate differentiated instruction and multiple uses. The furniture, Jalette points out, is easily moveable on slides or glides to provide “flex spaces” for collaborative learning. School and community groups regularly use the room for meetings or presentations, and both during and after school hours.
The rejuvenated library, unveiled in the fall of 2014, is a light, bright, and welcoming place.
“It’s much more open and friendly and not as congested,” says grade 10 student Mackenzie Halliday, adding, “There are lots of resources for everyone to use.”
A blend of physical and virtual learning environments is meant to increase student engagement and improve student achievement.
Computer research pods for small groups or classes, a computer research corner for individuals, a teaching room, a student project room, individual work/study areas, a student photocopier/printer, and traditional bookshelf section—students can use the space in ways that best meet their learning needs.
An enhanced Wi-Fi network and dozens of electrical plug-ins support mobile device usage throughout the space.
Patrons also appreciate the comfortable lounge areas—one located adjacent to a cozy fireplace, another situated in front of large floor to ceiling windows, and a third nestled among the books.
“It’s a good place to relax and let go of any stress that has accumulated over the day,” says grade 11 student Anthony Davis.
In her role as teacher-librarian, Jalette focuses on literacy, research skill development and research integrity. She leads two extra-curricular reading programs—Red Maple for grade 8 students and White Pine for students in grades 9 to 12. She also organizes and presents a variety of workshops tailored to student needs and course assignments. And, she provides technological support to students, staff members and visitors throughout the day.
She looks forward to the final phase of the revitalization project: “Details like signage and student artwork will add the finishing touches to Bishop’s newest learning space.”
June 19, 2015
For further information, please contact:
Michele Arbour, Director of Education
Renfrew County Catholic District School Board
499 Pembroke Street West
Pembroke, ON K8A 5P1
Phone: 613-735-1031 or 1-800-267-0191