I think I’ve finally recovered from Summer Institute! What an amazing whirlwind of an experience. I met some truly beautiful human beings, in particular I met and spent most of my time with a group of ladies from a previous group project. They were friendly, intelligent, witty, and inspiring. They made all the difference in my experience, because I was actually pretty nervous heading down to Norfolk. If there was any lingering doubt in my mind that I’d made the right decision, they helped me to realize that I am in the right program, with the right people, at the right school.
The theme for summer institute was Open Spaces. Open spaces builds on the idea of makerspace. But it’s more than a physical space, colored coded containers of materials, or cool (and sometimes expensive) technology. It’s a mindset. It’s freedom. It’s making use of the tiny computers students walk around with every day to connect to innumerable and immeasurable resources. It’s allowing students the time and space to explore in a less directed manner.
Although we’ve been working with some really fantastic and new-to-me tools in this course, my mental image of a library stayed fairly consistent: the traditional library. While there’s nothing wrong with that, there is so much room to expand and the fact is, libraries are changing – and should be changing. I encourage you to read the article that we all read before institute: The School Librarian as Learning Alchemist.
When we wrapped up on Wednesday afternoon with a World Cafe, we rotated through groups discussing our thoughts on open spaces – including ideals, advantages, disadvantages and obstacles. While almost everyone agreed that the advantages of open spaces are immeasurable, and there aren’t many (or any) disadvantages, I realized that everyone has a unique vision – their own version of the perfect library and that’s exactly how it should be. All of us have a particular school or set of students in mind, and meeting their needs in the best way possible should always be our goal.
If you’re looking for some lovely current and future librarians to follow on twitter, or just want to see a little more of Summer Institute, head on over to twitter and browse through #oduopenspaces.
I can’t wait to see everyone next year!