Initiatives, Projects and Reviews

Learning Commons/School Libraries

As learning environments change, school libraries must evolve from providing information to students to preparing students as engaged critical thinkers, evaluators, ethical users and entrepreneurial creators of information and knowledge.

Learning Commons Policy

Policy Statement:

To support students in attaining the goals and standards as stated in the Ministerial Order on Student Learning, school authorities must ensure that students have access to a learning commons. A learning commons is an inclusive, flexible, learner-centred, physical and/or virtual space for collaboration, inquiry, imagination and play to expand and deepen learning.

The Learning Commons Policy and Learning Commons Guidelines, approved in 2014 and to be implemented September 2014, replace the previous Policy, Guidelines, Procedures and Standards for School Libraries in Alberta (1984).

The Learning Commons Policy supports the principles and values of Inspiring Education, the Ministerial Order on Student Learning, and Curriculum Redesign and is aligned with the Government of Alberta Collaborative Library Policy (2013).  The Learning Commons Policy and Learning Commons Guidelines help bring the goals outlined in Inspiring Education to life in schools.

What is a Learning Commons?

A learning commons is a common, or shared, learning ‘space’ that is both physical and virtual.  It is more a perspective than a “place.”  A learning commons perspective supports a student-centred approach that emphasizes active and collaborative engagement and encourages the co-creation of knowledge by all learners.

A learning commons provides individual, small and large group space, either physical and/or virtual, for instruction, social/collaborative learning, and production and presentation. It also promotes global and cultural understanding as students collaborate with their local and broader community to investigate and create solutions to complex problems.

Finally, the virtual aspect of a learning commons (a VLC) promotes more efficient use of technology for creation and sharing of knowledge as well as enabling 24/7 access to resources and shared collaborative space for all students.

Research shows that students who have access to quality school library services, which a learning commons perspective enables, are more likely to exhibit advanced student achievement and literacy development.

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