Librarian Plans a Student-Centered Learning Space

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Every student has an English class that requires reading of some sort and libraries are a giant resource to use for reading, researching books, poetry, history, and people. Brandy Abbott is the school Librarian, and while it is her first year at Timber Creek, she is excited to work with the student body to fill their reading or research needs.

Carol Hopson teaches English II to the sophomores and AP Literature and Composition to seniors. The library is a huge component of her class for both age groups.

“A library is a resource center; print, electronic,” Hopson said. “Mrs. Abbott has a wealth of knowledge on where to find books about specific subjects.”

Jesah Abellon, a senior pupil of Hopson’s, frequents the library for its wealth of information.

“A library is more beneficial for your own time because you can go your own pace and it’s calm and there are a lot of resources.” Abellon said.

Abbott, who is in the library all day, hopes it will be a beneficial space for all students to utilize.

“A library is a place where you can not only come to learn about things, but learn to create new things, work on projects, work with other students, collaborate on different projects, tutoring—I help kids from time to time—so more than just a place to go and check out a book when you’re bored.” Abbott said.

The library is a nice open space that students can group together to chat and work to complete assignments and research projects. However, teachers often bring some library resources to their classroom to bridge the gap between all of the source material in a library and the smaller, controlled setting of an English classroom.

“You want the library to be an inviting and welcoming place, but you also want it to be a center for study,” Hopson said. “I just want them to read, I am so committed to people actually reading.”

The library houses an ever-growing fiction collection. Abbott keeps an online shopping cart running that is added to and then ordered from when possible. Book orders are almost always 100 books or more. Under special circumstances books can be ordered outside of the regular orders, such as the book club needing books or a class that has a required reading.

“We are able to get whatever we need when we need it with a small shipping turn around.” Abbott said.

Fiction isn’t the only thing in the library. The library has a non-fiction section as well for research purposes. However, it doesn’t look like the non-fiction section will grow much more. Most research material is online, and research can be done through the schools databases.

“We have great databases, that are accessible through our library site,” Abbott said. “What I plan to do for the next year is communicate it through the English teachers.”

The databases are a great research tool to help students get reliable academically appropriate material. For students of all ages it can be hard to discern good, helpful educational pieces that will benefit students’ work. The databases are available from all computers. They are set through the library website. The instructions are there as well as in the library for any student to have access to. The passwords are only available from the library, and they are the only things required to get the databases to work from any computer.

The calendar is a difficult thing to manage, there are only enough computers for two classes to use at once and even still sometimes its not enough. There is just enough space for three classes to be in the library at once. Abbott wants to expand the space available in the library by better utilizing the classroom-sized space in the northwest corner.

“I want to be able to use it for various things, I want is to be changeable,” Abbott said.

Abbott wants to put things on wheels, to be able to move things into different formations to have all sorts of classes or club meetings back there. Timber Creek Club of the Arts has already been successful in using that space for a drawing workshop held earlier in the year.

“I just can’t see it very well; I’m considering using the shorter shelves over there for the non-fiction section so there is supervision back there,” Abbott said. “The planning and the budget is a responsibility I take very seriously.”

The library has a lot of space on the ground, but it also has a lot of space from the floor to ceiling. Where most of the school is two stories, the library is just one story that has a lot of open air space and beautiful floor to ceiling windows that offer natural light to for the library. So with all the open air space, a second story for more bookshelves, computers or a quite study space might seen extremely beneficial.

“Physically I’m sure someone could do it, I have a feeling it would be so expensive that it wouldn’t be an option realistically.” Abbott said.

Being a Librarian is no easy feat, Abbott must know where everything goes and where the technology is such as the netbooks, mac books and other equipment teachers reserve to their classes.

“The planning and the budget is a responsibility I take very seriously,” Abbott said.

The library gives all students access to immense resources for research purposes and a resource for entertainment reading.

See some selected photos of the TCHS Library below. Click on any image to make it larger:

Brelee McClelland

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Brelee McClelland is the Editor in Chief of the Timber Creek Talon. She is also a member of the TCHS band.