The Library Space as a Narrative
When you think about the school library space as a long narrative, with many chapters, it becomes less difficult to imagine plot twists and surprise endings. As Massey so insightfully states: “..we recognize space as always under construction. Precisely because space on this reading is a product of relations-between, relations which are necessarily embedded material practices which have to be carried out it is always in the process of being made. It is never finished; never closed. Perhaps we could imagine space as a simultaneity of stories-so-far.” (pg 9)
Using this logic decide where in the story your school library is at the moment. Progressive or affluent districts may be much further along in their programs, technology, infrastructure, and resources. Some may think they have completed the transition to a new library concept. They may have already become complacent thinking other schools should use their library as a model for their own renovation. But they are mistaken. Their story is not finished; they have only finished this chapter. Their story is bookmarked at the moment; hopefully there is much more to be written. Ironically, their story may be actually falling behind the school that was turning pages more slowly, discovering alternative options for their users based on continually surfacing ideas.
A school library, especially today, cannot be stagnate; it must constantly build on a base of knowledge just as our students are building. Where you are at the moment is not as important as where you are going. Being the information gateway is evolving with the nature of information and its expanded accessibility.
So where in the story is your school library today? Where is the rest of the school and most important where are your students and the tools they are using? Can your team of planners write a narrative in this slice of time that eclipses the standard plot line and addresses the unique challenges of your students?
Because so many schools are at such diverse places in the narrative of school libraries, it is important to consider whether you can just jump ahead or if you must turn each page and follow the formula that has developed over the last few years. Do you need to become a MarkerSpace or a Learning Commons or should your school library skip to a later, as yet un-named chapter? As Massey would say, are you being “dragooned into line behind those who designed the queue”? These are the questions this module will ask of the planning team.