The marvelous Peg Sullivan of Smith read yesterday’s post about libraries really focusing deeply on creating conducive learning spaces for students with disabilities. Peg is a great thinker about how library spaces can be used to promote deeper thinking, and as a long-time member of the AASL Standards and Guidelines Implementation Task Force (yup, that’s a mouthful), she has a deep commitment to the AASL Standards that we now refer to as L4L (Peg coined the term).
“One comment: if I ruled the world, we would be burning traditional carrels. I always find them dark and lonely, sort of like a “time-out.” I would only use them for privacy in the school office or something. There are better ways to “nest”; for example a small table by a window. People need light to think. Carrels are the sleep pod for overworked college students.I had a friend who purchased a number of rockers and put them into a quieter area of her library for the autistic students. The rocking motion helped them focus, calm down and near by windows and picture/coffee table style books gave them something to look through during bad times. It seemed to work extremely well.”
She added that she has an upcoming article on study rooms and will give a heads-up when it’s published.
The conversations of the past 24 hours reminded me of something else (really, people, even though I had a Major Birthday this year, did I have to get a sieve where my crackerjack memory used to be?).
One of my former students got her principal to agree to remove the tops of the carrels and open up her space. A very clever repurposing from a very clever librarian. (See her detailed information in the comments below.)
Addie noted on Twitter last night, “Maybe we need to create study carrels 2.0 – focused spaces that don’t feel like detention.”
I’d love to hear from you about Addie’s thought. What IS a study carrel 2.0? Is there still a need for individual learning zones in a school library or learning commons?