Learning Commons Proposal

Ashford University

EDU495: Library Science and Media Capstone

When we think of a library, generally we conjure images of a quiet and occasionally dark place. Many people imagine the librarian as an older and lonely appearing woman (possibly thinking she owns a large number of cats and has access to an even larger number of historical volumes of text that nobody wants to bother reading). They might even consider the library a place of antiquated tomes, long lost to the echelons of time and forgotten by the age of technology. The proverbial cherry to this hypothetical sundae would of course be the desire for silence and the long-dreaded, “Shhh.”

Of course, we in this field know that this is not the case at all. No longer do these images need to be the first that pop into people’s heads when you ask them about the library! Not with the Learning Commons Model, now here to change the views of the literary skeptic everywhere. Now our patrons may wonder, “What exactly is a Learning Commons Model and what does it have to do with me?”

Well, that is easily enough answered through Susan McMullen’s clear and concise definition in her article for Roger Williams University, “The learning commons model functionally and spatially integrates library, information technology and other academic support services to provide a continuum of services to the user, a blending of staff knowledge and skills, and referral to appropriate areas of expertise. It is a dynamic place that encourages learning through inquiry, collaboration, discussion and consultation.” (McMullen, 2008)

As you can see we have been faced with the chance to evolve in the face of change, of the future; instead of allow libraries to languish and fall to the wayside. Here at the Severus Snape Memorial Library, we strive to assure a future for both books and patrons alike. Our sincerest hope is to be able to integrate the Learning Commons Model within our walls by the 2017 school year in order to offer the best possible experience for our patrons while allowing for maximum use of technological advances and interpersonal interactions per visit.

At the Severus Snape Memorial Library, our vision is to be able to enhance our patron/students learning experiences when they walk through the doors of our establishment by supporting the use of learning through both traditional and technologically advanced means. Through the collaborative use of these methods we aim to provide a level of expertise and services previously unseen in this field. The pursuit of this vision will be accomplished by and through providing a safe place for patrons/students so they may be able to learn and socialize. One way of supporting our patrons/students will be to assist them in the development of information seeking and research skills befitting the technologically advanced society that we live in.

In our pursuit of our vision, we also seek to foster and further encourage the love of learning both inside and outside of the classroom environment. This will be achieved through the assisted development of strong, life-long academic integrity and desire to continue the pursuit of learning for professional, scholastic, and personal means. Part of this development process will rest on the shoulders of we, the educators, to aid our patrons/students in the utilization of technology as a learning process and a learning tool; with the end goal being able to successfully navigate the field of the computer, various operating systems, and the internet as a whole. In order to provide these opportunities to patrons/students we must be able to provide a varied range of resources, including but not limited to: Print (novels, textbooks, periodicals (magazines, newspapers, etc.); audio (CD, Mp3, AVI files, Apple based audio devices (i.e. Ipod); Visual (texts, DVD, Blue-Ray, television, printers); Digital (Adobe suites, up-to-date software, computer, tablet, Kindle, Nook, smart-phone integration, IPad); Web Based (Google, Firefox, paid for services).

Once these resources are obtained we can then collaborate with the staff at The Baker Academy to continue to enhance student learning through improved academic performance while simultaneously standing as a stand-alone resource of information to the public in our development of cutting edge approaches to the scholastic experiences of learners on a local and to an extent, global level.

These changes once made will be able to be spread to the community, parents, guardians, and fellow educators alike through the use of social media. After an extensive amount of research and analysis of available social media tools, we have been able to secure a confident position on the platform that the Severus Snape Memorial Library should take for the upcoming school year; provided we are able to ascertain the necessary resources to adequately distribute and re-distribute information to those at the Baker Academy and the community at large. The Severus Snape Memorial Library plan for social marketing for the Baker Academy is currently as follows:

In order to best market our Learning Commons through social media, we will be seeking to achieve a certain number of goals in its inception. First and foremost, we will need to be able to create engaging social content that will keep staff, students, and parents/guardians returning to our social media channels. The intended focus will be on the following social media platforms to develop a strong social media presence: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. SnapChat is a consideration for later marketing, but not necessary for the inception of this campaign launch. We can do this through pertinent, related updates and a number of promotions and social campaigns to encourage our target demographic while simultaneously generating awareness and repeat traffic/visits and topic engagement.

One way to achieve the aforementioned goal is to integrate social media platforms and activity into the day-to-day functioning of the Severus Snape Memorial Library. Through this integration, we will be able to monitor the interactions of patrons/students and develop a sound analytical base for our target audience for future interactions.

In order to grow a social audience and strong follower base, we will have to provide the incentive for return visits. This will be achieved through hash tag campaigns (primarily through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram due to their character limitation and propensity for communication through this avenue); use of strong, dynamic keywords (searches are dependent on keywords, especially when achieved using methods aligned within the Boolean Logic Standard. The more keywords that can apply to a search, the higher the likelihood that the researching party will find our presence); a visible presence provided by a consistent stream of sharing and re-tweeting of relevant news (the key is to only re-tweet posts relevant to the subject matter we are covering); liking posts on Facebook that are relevant to our campaign; posting videos on YouTube for patrons to watch (this can be as simple as story-telling to marketing through digital commercial, to offering timely updates to the public in form of digital newsletter); and finally, the use of LinkedIn to stay connected with our staff and the professional community to keep our connections constantly renewed and fresh.

In order for this to be successful, we must realize that this is more than just posting promotions but an integral part of the job of a modern library. All staff will be expected to maintain posting according to a mutually agreed upon schedule in order to maintain momentum for all involved. The use of the above social platforms will allow us to connect with staff, students, and parents/guardians on an entirely new level; allowing them to access us from the ease of their smart-phones at home.

The projected schedule of responsibilities are as follows:

Daily responsibilities will be to respond to any/all engagements to include comments, questions, etc. from our follower base across all currently used platforms in addition to cleaning up any posts that include inappropriate content (i.e. adult content, profanity) and blocking users if necessary to keep all content appropriate for a professional environment and school-aged children. All weekly responsibilities will include a minimum of fifteen (15) posts to Twitter per week that are thought-provoking, engaging, and above all, appropriate. There will be no use of memes or slang in posts. We will aim for one to three interactions on Instagram to promote new product, changes in the building, or promotion of events. There will be no photos of students, staff, or parents/guardians/volunteers without prior signing of an appearance consent form.

There will be at minimum five Facebook actions that do not include liking a post. The aim is to post meaningful articles on reading, authors, the school, fundraisers, etc. that will be of interest to our audience. Our credibility is only as strong as our last share, so we are to make them count! Monthly responsibilities will be to post at least two videos to YouTube to keep our page fresh and relevant as well as posting no less than ten appropriate articles to LinkedIn throughout the month.

It may be difficult to consider the Severus Snape Memorial Library a brand, but it is important that we realize that to an extent, we are and that the statistics favor marketing ourselves accordingly. The analysis of social media marketing from 2015 has shown that “95% of brands tweet. 82% of brands tweet 1-6 times per day. 48% of brands replied to at least one tweet per day.” (Cohen, 2015) With statistics like this, we would be remiss to not include Twitter as one of our social media platforms. When taking the myriad of social networks into consideration, we had to consider that, “71% of internet users are more likely to purchase from a brand that they are following on a social networking site such as Twitter or Facebook while also making them feel closer to the sponsoring company.” (Pulizzi, 2014)

Again, statistics are showing that people are connected to what they follow on social media platforms and it would be in our best interest to be part of that following. Students are more likely to engage outside of school if it is somewhere they are already going to be; parents/guardians are more likely to become involved with their children inside of the classroom when they are able to track the subject material and follow along with their children in real time; volunteers will be more likely to offer their time and resources when they can plan accordingly when offered a real-time calendar.

Having outlined our visions and social media goals, we can return once more to the brick and mortar of this institution and the plan for creating our Learning Commons model. We will now address seven steps that are integral for our success and how we plan to achieve them:

We want to be able to work within a space that is designed around the user. Typically, this is aptly called ‘user-centered design’. By discerning and satisfying the needs of our users we can achieve a more well-rounded method of learning. The objects, material, and resources will need to be useful to our patrons/students, eliminating any ‘filler’ from their searching process. The area also will need to be desirable to be in. This can easily be achieved by applying bright, vibrant colors to the area and highlighting the achievements of the students so the space becomes a place that is ‘theirs’ and where they would like to spend extended periods of time. This makes the space valuable to the students, we can continue this trend by showcasing their work within the venue. This also lends to our credibility because anyone can say that they are about the students, the users; but when we display their work and take equal pride in it, we are providing proof that we mean what we are saying. Another key point is to maintain accessibility within the staff by offering a personal and friendly experience when they enter our doors and offering aid where possible. Above all, things must be easily found and able to be utilized.

This can be best achieved by using our current space and reorganizing to create a free-flowing, open work area for the children. Our physical space is typically the first impression patrons will get of the Severus Snape Memorial Library and we need to make sure it is a good one. Our end goal is to make sure that students are comfortable and able to engage within a common space. The floor plan needs to reflect that with creating a wide open area, preferably carpeted with a number of comfortable lounge chairs to encourage students to take a seat and stay awhile. The computers would be best in a central area, taking center stage to the bigger picture so traffic may come and go and they are accessible at all times by all patrons. The less signs and “governing” we need to place, the better; this allows for valuable spatial real estate to be given to activity centers and research projects.

If we are successful in achieving flexible spacing, we will reduce the repetitive questions from students because we allow the questions to answer themselves the first time by offering a very clearly self-defined space. In making the space more navigable, it allows the staff to pursue more meaningful interactions with our students and provide better answers to their questions the first time rather than the seventh time. By making sure our virtual presence is clean, clear, and concise, we seek to achieve the same thing in the digital realm because students and staff alike will not need to navigate cluttered webpages and desktops.

Another way to enhance the learning process is to join resources. The American Library Association has a number of suggestions that we would be remiss not to implement. When it comes to learning within Baker Academy, staff collaborations would be of the utmost importance to get this off the ground. Classroom teachers can work in tandem with Librarians to “build reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills together across the curriculum.” (ALA, 2014) No longer do we have to work independently of one another. We are now able to continue to nurture the appreciation for reading and literature as part of a collaborative curriculum and eventually on a school-wide level through use of programs like the Accelerated Reader Program or Book-It!

Part of continued success with integrating the new model is removing barriers; essentially destroying the conception of libraries of old in the process. No longer do we need to outline a specific ownership to an item. Replace ownership words with “access to” and “ours”. Amplify this shift with the removal of the solitary, singular teaching/learning space to the aforementioned flexible learning areas. Remove the need for silence and the stifling environment it creates by encouraging a number of activity levels and varying noise levels. This can be done by allowing soft music or audio/visual media playing, students interacting, general chatter, etc. Finally, old with the old and in with the new! Get rid of the signs of antiquated library past and push forward with vibrancies and colors, media that embraces the technology available.

We discussed removing barriers, now it comes down to being able to trust our users. This might be difficult, but it is an important step. Encourage the children to check out more books by removing limitations at check-out and offer more flexible return dates. Allow the students to create accounts and through use of protective software previously installed, eliminate the need to hover over them as they research. By this show of trust, we will nurture our students in a way that limiting them never would.

Finally, we need to publicize ourselves, and not just through social media. Suggestions here are included but not limited to: School Newsletters for both students and parents, Flyers dedicated to informing the community of functions and fundraisers, Book Fairs, Public Reading ventures, small and/or large scale productions to draw attention to the school and students alike.

Having covered the actions required to create the physical and virtual space for the Severus Snape Memorial Library Learning Commons, we can address the financial aspects of this venture for the 2017 school year:

Since we are based in Florida, we will be working with our capital accordingly where applicable. Projected fixed assets will be set to a number of leasehold improvements, specifically where acquiring new equipment is concerned. The conservative budget for new equipment is as follows:

The conservative estimate for furniture and fixtures includes (items are from Pier 1):

  • 10x Dell Inspiron 3000 Series 3.60 GHz Intel Core i3-4160 1TB HDD, 8GB RAM, Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit Desktop. $479.99 per computer.
  • 10x Logitech M325 Wireless Optical Mouse, Ambidextrous, Black. $14.99 per mouse.
  • 4x HP Envy 4520 All-In-One Printer. $79.99 per printer.
  • 30x Amazon Kindle Paperweight. $119.99 per e-reader.
  • 15x Amazon Fire 7” Tablet. $49.99 per tablet.
  • 45x Staples M e-Reader Case for Kindle Devices. $14.99 per case.
  • 2x NetGear Nighthawk WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router. $249.99 per modem/router.
  • 30x Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones, Black. $49.99 per set.
  • 2x Canon imageCLASS Multi-Function Copier. $249.99 per copier.
  • 1x GBC Pinnacle 1701720EZ 27” EZLoad Laminator Blue/Gray. $1,856.89.
  • 2x LG LF6000 50” 1080p Full HD LED-LCD TV, Black. $447.99 per television.
  • 10x Adobe Creative Cloud for Windows/Mac. (1 User) Download 1 Year Student/Teacher Subscription. $239.99 per program
  • 10x Office Home and Student 2016 for Windows (1 User). $149.99 per program.
  • 2x Panasonic Smart Wi-Fi 4K Upconverting Blu-Ray Player and Movie. $125.99 per player.
  • Once calculated and Florida tax is added: $20,880.06

Outside of the two major purchase requirements, a conservative estimate on miscellaneous su

  • 1x Dazzle Floral Rug – 9 x 12 Teal. $899.95
  • 1x Dazzle Floral Rug – 9 x 12 Persimmon. $899.95
  • 1x Tulia Floral Rug – 8 x 10 Rust. $699.95
  • 1x Yara Rug – 8 x 10 Blue. $699.95
  • 10x Carmen Chair – Flax. $529.99 per chair.
  • 10x Carmen Chair – Taupe. $529.99 per chair.
  • Once calculated and Florida tax is added: $14,627.67 for redecorating.

Place an Order

Plagiarism Free!

Scroll to Top