OESJ High School Library Transformation

Moving from a traditional library space towards a learning commons.

Students were very excited to find that the high school library had all new furniture to start the 2016-17 school year. The traditional wooden library furniture was replaced by tables and chairs on casters, upholstered chairs, and a variety of low tables and ottomans. The old furniture has been repurposed in classrooms throughout the building.

In the past, the school library was a place of quiet, contemplative study where the emphasis was on solitary, silent learning. A learning commons focuses on creating a community of learners where the environment is active, flexible, and dynamic and the physical space accommodates a variety of users and users’ needs.

Students have universally given the space a thumbs-up for being a place they can relax and feel comfortable in. Over the past school year, students provided feedback on what they liked and didn’t like about the previous library design, tried out sample furniture pieces, and brainstormed ideas on what they wanted the space to be. The end result is truly a collaborative effort.