Library as Classroom

Librarian Shhhh

I really liked reading the articles about the library as a classroom. I remember growing up it seemed like every time I was part of a group project we always went over to someone’s house to study rather than go to the library. Going over to a group member’s house was generally seen as just as good if not better than the library after all everyone had a computer and there was always one group member that had a mom that would make us snacks. Going to the library meant hoping a study room was open and then being in a small room with a table, if you needed a computer you had to sign up for one and huddle around it while trying not to disturb others around you. Libraries and students are changing, now in group setting you will generally find at least one, if not all, of your group members has a laptop eliminating the need to crowd the banks of library computers and the meeting spaces are becoming cooler, “The central unit is frequently a generous space furnished for informal face-to-face gatherings; other areas can include meeting rooms, writing centers, tutoring venues, advisor offices, and nearby access to food and drink. To reinforce that this is a student-centric area and to inspire the creativity of others, physical areas in the commons may also prominently display and promote student efforts” (Lippincott, 2011). I love seeing how libraries are transforming to spaces that encourage meeting and creativity. When I tell people that I am studying to be a librarian many people seem to think I’m just learning the Dewey Decimal system and how to Shush people. It will be interesting to see how the perception of what librarians do changes as library spaces change. I doubt anyone in these modern meeting spaces would claim that a librarian is there to Shush people.



Lippincott, J. K., & Greenwell, S. (2011, April). 7 things you should know about the modern learning commons (Report). Washington DC: EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). Retrieved from

Library as Classroom

7 thoughts on “Library as Classroom

  1. Elise says:

    It is true that space has a very powerful impact. Moving from an ugly traditional print based library to a beautiful open IC space changed everything. Fewer reference questions, lots more tech questions/issues. Lots more people, lot less circulation of materials. The only bad part is that I have to shush people all the time now because it is so crowded and the acoustics are awful.
    I really like the idea of featuring student work on large screens!


    1. Caitlin Ferrell says:

      @eaversa that’s too bad about the shushing I know some libraries are now incorporating spaces where you can be louder and then specific quiet study areas but with bad acoustics that certainly complicates keeping a reasonable noise level.


      1. Sacha says:

        My local library has the largest quiet study area I’ve ever seen (glass walls, completely closed), yet the rest of the library seems to maintain that traditional silence – I wonder if and how they could intentionally break the silence! The librarians still speak in hushed tones, so that probably doesn’t help, and maybe they aren’t interested in the library getting any louder, but the huge study area is a start I guess. I keep thinking that if there are enough of us who share a similar mindset, libraries will inevitably all become bustling, vibrant places!


    1. Caitlin Ferrell says:

      @michael I think that is such a great motivator and inspiration I always loved seeing displays of student work around the school especially when my own work was up there. It would be so interesting as a student to see what type of work is being produced in other schools either online or displayed at the library. It seems to me that it would particularly be inspiring for younger kids to see what kind of work they will be doing when they move up to middle school or high school.


    1. Caitlin Ferrell says:

      @michael My elementary school did that a bit I remember seeing the fourth graders mission models when I was in first or second grade and being excited to make one for a couple of years. (Sadly my grade was the year we didn’t make the models as they had a problem with too much parental involvement and/or ready made kits being used. In the years after my class they had kids build the models in class to fix that problem). The main branch of the local library where I grew up also sometimes features art projects from the Art at Your Fingertips program the school district does displayed near the entrance as you walk over to the children’s section.


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