School libraries nationwide are modernizing to keep in step with 21st century technology-driven learning with features such as Makerspaces, 3D printers and flexible furniture, and Oaks Christian School is right in step with this trend.
The Fardad Family Middle School Library underwent a major renovation this past summer to create a dynamic learning environment that supports collaboration, creativity and innovation. Gone are the days of bookshelves only and quiet-whisper zones. Instead, the modern middle school library is a space where hands-on learning comes to life and students can dive deep into science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) topics, making it an engaging destination for students.
The new, open space is bright and airy and includes five 27-inch iMacs for creative projects, a digital projection station for group collaborative work, USB ports and chargers, mobile furniture, the Makerspace in the back and the new 3D printer.
"The Fardad Family Library is the epicenter for the creative and intellectual minds of our students. Designed to encourage independent and collaborative thinking, the reimagined library space is dedicated to sparking a passion for learning in an evolving landscape of digital, print, and hands-on educational tools, all selected on the basis of relevance, age-appropriateness, and consistency with Christian values," shared Middle School Librarian Patricia Smart.
After a six-month remodel, the new space was celebrated at the official grand opening in early November, complete with balloons, a ribbon cutting, cake and students and staff dressed up in their favorite literary characters.
Students spent the day exploring the new space and trying out the new features. They liked the Apple store feel, even saying it smelled like an Apple store. They especially enjoyed the low-slung 360-degree swivel reading chairs.
"I like how it is modern, and not old-school with just books. I like the computers and the cool furniture," shared Sophia Sletten, sixth grade.
"It's very nice and looks way better than it did before," said Chase Farrell, sixth grade. "I like how they involved technology in the making of the library. I am using tech for school projects."
Savannah Knapp, sixth grade, enjoyed the vibe and décor, "It's a really fun environment to hang around and do homework after school. It's not boring and they added fun colors. My favorite thing is the way they designed the desk areas."
And students aren't the only ones benefitting from the new design. Faculty are enjoying the flexibility of the mobile furniture which can be rearranged in any formation, from an auditorium set-up to a coffee house to project-based collaborative groups.
According to Smart, the flexibility makes it easier to teach two classes at once, if needed, rather than having students sit on the floor in pods as was done previously. For example, middle school science teacher Dale Spady, Choral Director Ed Rouse, and Smart co-taught a lesson about making musical instruments, each covering a different area of knowledge the students would need. Tiered seating helped the 50 students see everything being demonstrated.
The remodel not only blessed OCMS students, but the furniture that was replaced was donated to the following schools and charities: Hands4HopeLA, Napa Christian School, Mountain Vista School, Tarzana Community and Cultural Center, LA Shares, Glendale Youth Authority, and Home-Based Medical Supplies.