Team 1 Library: Summer 2009
  • Misty Burnworth, lighting/audio/visual specialist
  • Lori Cummings, furnishings specialist
  • Denise Henry, computing technologies specialist
  • Matt Sherwood, computing technologies specialist & floorplan
  • Jenni Topmiller, ergonomics and room layout specialist
  • Craig Wilsie, lighting/audio/visual specialist



During the Summer of 2009 our design team came together in a collaborative effort to redesign the library space at a local elementary school in San Diego. Our team consists of members of San Diego State University's Master's COMET cohort. Our course, titled EDTEC700: Learning Spaces: Design Matters, under the guidance of Rebecca Vaughan Frazee, Ph.D., and James Frazee, Ph.D., challenged us to research the most effective ways to design learning spaces and create learning atmospheres to foster learning and student achievement while providing them with a comfortable, safe, and user-friendly environment. Each person in our group became an expert on a specific topic in the design process. Team members researched their topic. Then, we worked collaboratively through a Wiki and a Google Document to create our new library design. The team worked very well together. Our findings and report are below. The report includes background, analysis, floor plan (existing and new), design rationale, and evaluation of the space. This report details the results of analyses leading to design recommendations of the library space. We close the report with a suggested strategy to evaluate the viability of our team's design modifications.


Bay Park Elementary Library Space

group_tables.jpgAbout eight years ago, under proposition MM, Bay Park Elementary School found itself the recipient of a brand new library. A committee was formed to design the library space; however, it was clear from those involved that an architectural blue print had already been stamped and approved by the San Diego Unified School District. This made the principal at the time very angry, as well as those involved on the committee. What the school received was nothing that they desired. It is a basic building, much smaller than the school had anticipated. It was the hope of the committee that the library would be two stories high, and offer students a truly unique library and learning space. Instead, the school received a large room and a small conference room. The room does not have air conditioning
Computer Stations in back
. In 2009 the library was converted primarily to a computer lab. The school recently acquired 10 Mac computers and houses about 30 IBM compatible computers. The space cannot really accommodate this many computers, but the lead technology teachers set it up the best they could. There is an alcove that contains about half of the IBMs, a SmartBoard and an LCD Projector and screen. The remainder of the IBM computers line the wall and do not face the screen or SmartBoard. The Mac computers are set up on one round table, and cords hang underneath. The SmartBoard and LCD project are also not visible from every Mac computer. Regardless, there are few teachers that know how to use any of the technology available. (Click here to view a technology report completed for the school in 2009, including survey data).

Bay Park Elementary Demographics

lib5.jpgBay Park Elementary School is located east of Mission Bay in the Bay Park area of the City of San Diego, educating approximately 400 students each year. Bay Park is part of the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). The school's enrollment is composed of about 51% local residents, 36% Open Enrollment Program students, 13% Voluntary Enrollment Exchange Program (VEEP), 9% special education students, and 2% visually impaired. Bay Park offers the district’s visually impaired resource program.


The logical fist step in our approach to the project, a needs analysis, focused our attention on the existing space. We reviewed graphic and descriptive information about the space, requested data from stakeholders, conducted a gap analysis, and reviewed current literature to derive data-based design elements for the space. The successful implementation of our design is positively correlated to stakeholder's needs. Interview and correspondence with stakeholders provided the following data and expressed needs:


Data and Needs Expressed by Stakeholder

Eric Takeshita
  • integrate technology and to get students more involved in multimedia production.
  • incorporate areas for collaborative groups to do problem-based learning.

25 classroom teachers
Susan Ioannides (consultant)
  • The bathroom in the building is a plus.
  • There are sufficient computers for a class to use.
  • Workroom space is nice.
  • Spaces need to be clearly defined, and useful.
  • The open beam roof permits sound from outside to penetrate the building.
  • Air conditioning is needed.
  • Scheduling and availability of the spaces needs to be defined by the site.
  • Other uses for this space are tutors working with students, Occupational Therapy, girl scouts after school, staff dev./ meetings sometimes, before and after school clubs (art, math, sci. etc), assemblies for grade level, movies or united streaming videos for more than one class at a time, parent meetings at times, special events for classes such as an author reading share or poetry party where parents, reading buddies, or others are invited, it has also been used as a reception area for a retirement.
  • I like that the space is available for classes to get together and celebrate student work and achievements, but I am convinced of the importance of a computer/ media lab that gets used to its full extent.
  • Our world is a tech-world and by not teaching tech we are doing a disservice to our students and community.The space needs to be totally revamped to work and reconfigured by someone much better at architecture than I am. Immediately it needs air conditioning so we do not fry our long awaited computers.

Laurie Launie (consultant)
  • 51% of the students are local
  • Access before, after school, and during lunch.
  • Need air conditioning because the room gets hot.
  • 452 students ages 5 - 11
  • 231 local residents
  • 162 Open Enrollment (non-local)yup
  • 59 Enrollment Exchange (non-local)
  • 41 Special Education
  • 10 visually impaired
  • An open comfortable place to spend time reading (not just checking out books).
  • Access during non-classroom visits.
  • Maintain focus on technology while creating quiet reading spaces and library space.
  • Ensure the equipment is in working order.
  • Have more comfortable chairs and smaller tables.
  • Have separate learning areas (computers in one location).
  • Someone available to help kids.
  • Opportunities for learning and exploring.
Library Tech Teacher

Linda Whinnery (consultant)
  • The single most effective tool a library media center must have is a credentialed library media teacher.
  • Reflection of school’s vision and mission statement.
  • OPAC stations (Online Patron Access Catalog) to search for materials.
  • Presentation station (sound system, computer, projector).
  • Computer access zone
  • High interest zone – favorite books
  • Comfy zones to sit and read
  • A quiet work zone
  • Community zone – storytelling, community support available after school hours.
  • A way to manage directions/take notes/etc

Next we examined the existing space to discover gaps between the library's current state and ideal design.

Existing Space (Actual)
Ideal Space (Optimal)
Gaps Addressed in Design
Room contains partitions to create two smaller spaces that are underutilized
Large and small spaces are utilized
Remove permanent partition walls to create an open area for whole class instruction. Purchase movable partitions made of acoustic panels
No air conditioning
Comfortable, controllable climate
Purchase air conditioning unit(s). Low-E glazing on windows
Open-beam ceiling allows too much outside noise
No outside noise
Add acoustic material to ceiling (absorbers)
Library used as a computer lab
Space blends traditional library elements with 21st century learning supports
Add design elements to support both traditional library functions and new collaborative/multimedia functions
Computers do not face interactive whiteboard
Symbiotic technological relationships
Redesign to coordinate technological elements
Numerous cords and cabling exposed
Reduce cabling
Add Wireless network.
Move desktop computers to classrooms; purchase laptops

Tables are too wide and chairs are uncomfortable
Furniture is age-appropriate and correlates to design elements
Replace furnishings with adjustable furniture that can be moved easily
Large mural on wall consumes space that could be used to convey information or post student projects
Every square foot in the space supports the goal and vision of the space
Repurpose wall space
Layout does not address developmental needs of space, e.g. balance between collaborative, personal areas
Spatial relationships support learners in a wide range of learning and developmental stages
Spaces include areas for students to retreat, explore, share, and collaborate
Finally, the design team reviewed current literature to align our design concepts with current best practices and projected trends in the learning space design field.

Information That Informed Our Design and Development
Evidence in Final Project
Lippincott: Information Commons
Renovation of traditional library space into Information or Learning Commons concept.
Our design includes pervasive technology, flexible group spaces and
user services.
NE(X)T Gen Learning Environments
Age-related environment's impact on spatial requirements of learning spaces.
Our design accounts for student's developmental needs across five grade levels.
User Experience Design for the 21st Century Library
Visual presentation of technological integration in a school library. Technology is non-invasive, supporting traditional functions versus replacing them.
Our design mirrors the examples: wireless internet connections, hidden/neatly placed hardware wiring, and common-sense placement of hardware.
How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School
The application of specific design principles create a particular type of learning environment.
Our space is designed primarily as a community-centered environment, yet contains elements of a learner- and knowledge-centered space.
Design of the Learning Space: Learning and Design Principles
The learning needs of the school drive the design of the space. The space is considered a design product rather than a re-engineering of an existing space.
Our design process followed an abbreviated form of the Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate (CIOS) model.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on basis of disability. Schools must remove physical or communication barriers, providing aids, and assisted technology.
Our design will provide computers that have specific technologies for the blind population. It will also have signs displayed in Braille.
Assessment: The Key to Creating Spaces That Promote Learning
Hunley & Schaller
Settings good that provide interpersonal interactions. When in rows students participate less. Faculty that are in private space encourage student isolation. Flat surfaces may keep students from engaging fully in classroom activities.
We placed a round table in the middle of the library creating a hub which would encourage interaction. This assured the library had flexible, open space to promote active learning and interaction between faculty and staff.
Wooranna Park Primary School Case Study
Creating independent learners
We varied open and closed spaces for various learning modalities in the library. We had space for collaboration and media editing, and space for quiet reading.
Planning and Design Technology Rich Learning Spaces
It is important in a learning space to have the ability to quickly reconfigure a room, no front of the room. De- centered spaces encourages focus on learning not experts.
The hexagonal tables are on wheels, enabling the room to be changed over time for a variety of purposes.
NCTE Advice Sheet – Ergonomics, Health and Safety
Positioning People and Equipment to make a safe space. Arranging a safe learning environment to best facilitate the size/age of the users. Injury or strain can occur if furniture is not correct height for users.
Incorporating foot rests & wrist rests at the workstations to help position users bodies a precaution for injury and strain. We made sure that the furniture at appropriate height, distance, and angle for younger users. We positioned printers & copiers away from work stations to reduce distractions. Adjusted computer screens so top is at eye level for user. Finally, we positioned monitors at right angles to windows, otherwise use blinds.

Floor Plan

In the article, Wooranna Park Primary School Case Study, Annalise Gehling suggested using varied open and closed spaces for various learning modalities in the library. We used this suggestion to integrate collaboration as well as individual learning spaces into our re-design. We wanted to create a learning environment which was inviting and useful, where students could collaborate with their groups or read quietly. A round table was placed in the middle of the room so the library could have a central hub, allowing the chance for increased interaction between faculty and staff. We based this design on the readings of Hunley, and Schaller, which stated that faculty in private spaces encourages student isolation (EDUCAUSE, 2009).

Animated Floor Plan

Redesigned Floor Plan

Former Floor Plan

Space 1: Multipurpose Area:


Former Space
This space was formerly divided up into two sections with a wall parallel to the back wall cutting half of this space off from the rest of the room. It contained a clutter of computer tables and other equipment, most of it not facing the front.

Redesigned Space
The redesigned space has been created to proved maximum flexibility. The space can be totally cleared if desired since all tables are on wheels and foldaway. The Smart board is now facing the workstations, and area can be temporarily divided up into semi-private sections for group work, complete with portable whiteboards and tables. All of the walls contain whiteboards for flexible group or teaching space.

This space is supplemented with a laptop cart, wireless access, complete with a class set of laptops. These can be used on the table tops, or even in the back of the computer tables if desired.

Space 1: Multipurpose Group Work area


Former Space
Previous areas for small group work space existed in center of library at tables.

Redesigned Space
Spaces can be configured in many ways using full tables, half tables, or multiple tables and dividers. Cloth dividers can be used to pin up butcher paper and easels can be configured to help further divide the space.

Space 2: The Tree-Zone


Former Space
The former library space did not really contain a place for children to relax and read. The best approximation to the tree-zone would be an old couch with a slip-cover in the back of the library.

Redesigned Space
The redesigned space is meant to provide a comfortable and whimsical place for younger children to lounge and enjoy reading. It has a fake tree, cushioned triangular pads, and assorted beanbags. Full spectrum track lights have been added around the area on the walls and small halogen lights are hanging from the tree to add sufficient lighting. A padded bench on the bookcase in front of the Tree Zone provides a nice area to read to children, or to sit and read a book.

Space 3: The Chill Zone


Former Space
The former design did not contain an area that would appeal to adults or older children for reading or "chilling". The best approximation would be the couch from the picture above.

Redesigned Space
The chill zone is designed to appeal to older children or adults who want to sit and read, or socialize in a cool space. The bookcases nearby would contain age appropriate books.

Space 4: The Information Commons


Former Space
The former space consisted of computers in the back of the library facing the walls, and mostly away from presentation media tucked away in the half room. According to teachers, the computers were rarely used.

Redesigned Space
The new space has computers within easy reach of students and the librarian. New tables have been added that allow for better use of the space and provide students extra space to work opposite the computers. All monitors are facing the librarian's desk for easy assistance and supervision.

Space 4: Librarians Desk


Former Space
The librarians desk is near the front of the library taking up the front corner of the room. From that vantage point, the computers and most of the stacks are not visible.

Redesigned Space
New librarian's desk is located in the very center of the library to provide access, assistance, and supervision over the whole library.

Space 5: Gallery and Bookcases


Former Space
The formers space contained my large murals which limited the ability to display student work. Space the could have been used did not contain an appropriate surface to affix work too and was simply painted white.

The bookcases were formerly located at various locations around the library and not completely utilized.

Redesigned Space
The Gallery contains a large bulletin board for displaying student work, and display shelves underneath it which can be used for highlighting student work.

The bookcases are reused, but realigned with the Tree Zone. The realignment also makes the cases fit better, provides small nooks for beanbags, and allows for more space in the multipurpose area where it is needed. The librarian also has a clear vantage of this area.

Design Rationale

Diana Oblinger, in her article Learning to See, recounts how traditionally learning spaces were designed primarily with teaching in mind. But now the focus of learning space design has shifted more towards the learners and learning. This focus is guided by current prevalent pedagogy and also by the increasing integration of technology. Constructivist pedagogy has put working in groups, problem-solving collaboratively, and peer-to-peer interaction at the fore-front and therefore have specific design implications. The traditional use of a library for quiet, individual study and storing books is now not the ideal situation. The library is transforming more into what is referred to as an Information Commons (Lippincott, 2006), where in addition to finding information there are also various user services (assess multimedia facilities, meeting areas, etc.). These were the primary principles used when designing the renovation of the Bay Park Library space.

ldesk.jpgLibrarian Station

The current librarian's desk is rather large and tucked away in a corner of the space. Having the librarian's area in a corner encourages isolation, so we have moved this station to the middle of the library, to promote student-faculty interaction (Hunley & Schaller, 2009). As the role of the library is shifting, so is the role of the librarian. As more and more information is found on the internet as opposed to books, the librarian's role is becoming more of an information expert (Johnson, 2007) that will assist students in finding and evaluating information. With this in mind, having the librarian readily available in the center of the space make them more open and accessible.

smandlg1.jpgLarge and Small Group Meeting Areas

There are various types of spaces needed within a library, one of which are meeting spaces (WBDG). With an emphasis on collaborative and problem-based learning, there is an increased need for small group meeting areas (Johnson, 2007). Usually there would be one class at a time in the library space, anywhere from 20 to 36 children depending on the grade level. Elementary aged students are used to whole class meetings being held while seated on a carpeted area. To maximize flexibility of the space, we designated the west side of the library to serve as both large and small group meeting areas. The tables have wheels and fold down sides so they can easily be pushed over against the walls to make room for a large group meeting. There is also a SMART board and projector on the west wall to facilitate a large meeting. The tables can then be repositioned into smaller groups for collaborative learning projects. Movable partitions made of acoustic material will be available for students to section off their group from others. Also available will be whiteboards and huddle boards for students to use as they collaborate.

Chill Zone/Tree Zone

In addition to meeting areas, libraries also need to have informal "lounge" areas. These areas are for personal exploration; it could be reading a book or sitting with a laptop. These areas feature a relaxed atmosphere and alternative seating (comfy chairs,chill.jpgtree.jpg bean bags). Since there are two distinct groups of students at Bay Park (primary K-2; upper 3-5), there are two distinct informal areas. The Chill Zone for upper grades is in the southeast corner of the building. The shelves in this area will have the most currently popular books and magazines available. In the northeast corner is the Tree Zone, which is the informal space for the primary grades. It has a tree theme, and triangular stackable cushions. This space could be used for story times, puppetry and plays (Johnson, 2007).

Media Room

A variety of research show the importance of students developing digital literacy and using video production in increase language skills, many of which can be viewed at San Diego Unified School District's Project Live website. This room also allows project-based learning to take place. The windows are tinted to permit supervision, while reducing the light coming in. We designed a specific space for digital video production to limit noise and allow for green screen technologies. The following is a list of equipment, which includes additional equipment for check out by teachers, for work outside the Media Room, and to supply backup.
  • 3 Digital video cameras (Cannon or Sony)
  • 2 tripods.
  • 4 Digital cameras.
  • 2 Microphones (1 wireless clip-on, 1 boom mic.)
  • 4 sets of headphones.greenscreen.jpg
  • PC computer w/ sony Vegas.
  • iMac with iMovie.
  • 2 Firewires
To effectively create a green screen true-green fabric is recommended, by Mark Apsolon to reduce glare. The Company Store sells king-sized flat sheets for $44 a piece. Two will cover the space. Additionally, the green screen requires even lighting that can be attained with two work-lights placed on either side. The Subject needs to to be lit as well, which will require an additional work-light. Therefore we will need:
  • Two king-sized flat true-green sheets to be adhered to the wall.
  • Three free standing work-lights.
  • Additional lights may be used to reduce shadowing.

Visual Display Recommendations

In Jefferey Lackney's 33 Educational Design Principles for Schools and Community Learning Centers he suggests that virtual and physical learning spaces need to be integrated. Education Design Principle 23 describes the need to incorporate technology into the various curriculum areas. It provides as a solution to the ubiquitous use of information technology the creation of an "integrated, flexible, and complimentary" arena for learning.

Using a projection system and an interactive whiteboards provides a rich learning environment. According to The NCTE (National Center for smart.jpgTechnology in Education), digital projectors are essential to classroom design, because of the ability to project the computer screen and printed text which enhances presentations and demonstrations by making the information more visually accessible. This tool can also facilitate video conferencing (NCTE 2009).
Some things to consider when purchasing a projection system include:

  • Mounting - A stationary ceiling mounted projector with a mobile document camera and computer cart is recommended. The ceiling mounted projector reduces wiring and security problems, however infrastructure of the placement needs to verified.
  • Projection Distance - Short Throw projectors can be used for distances under 12 meters.
  • Luminosity - The projector should have 1,500 ANSI lumens to integrate the interactive whiteboards.
  • Resolution and Contrast Ration - The projector needs to automatically detect the resolution of the incoming video signal, as well as provide the ability to change the settings dependent upon the location. Contrast ratios of 400:1 or greater are recommended for schools.
  • Display options - LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and DLP (Digital Light Processing) are options.

The NCTE also suggest interactive whiteboards because they make the learning more responsive in both large and small groups (NCTE, 2008). They allow the learners to present their work and physically manipulate objects on the board. This tool also caters to students with special needs, especially for visually impaired learners. It supports the demonstration of how to use software or internet-based programs and resources.
Current equipment can be used.

Lighting Recommendations

  • Natural and full spectrum lighting
  • Energy efficient
  • Adjustable

In Jefferey Lackney's 33 Educational Design Principles for Schools and Community Learning Centers, he recommends using natural lighting and full spectrum lighting. These types of lighting have been shown to reduce mental fatigue. They have also been shown to reduce hyperactivity in children, which have been associated with fluorescent lighting. Studies have shown that the use of daylighting contributes to improved student achievement (Heschong et al, 2002) and these types of lighting are more economical and energy efficient as well. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers recommends daylight so that lights can be off most of the day, but design it carefully so that additional cooling needs are not required.

transom.jpgThe library space currently has good sources of natural lighting provided by large transom windows around the whole perimeter of the library, as well as a few glass doors that are all fitted with blinds. However, they also may be the cause of the room often being hot. There is no air conditioning currently, although there are air ducts. It would be beneficial to have the windows Low-E (low emittance) glazed to improve the insulation of the windows.

master_CAL001.jpgThe library space also currently has long fluorescent lighting strips that runs across the ceiling the full length of the library. These strips should be replaced with banks of track lighting, using full spectrum bulbs. Since the new design of the library will include different areas for different types of activities, the lighting needs to be as adjustable as possible. Each separate area should have it own lighting banks, complete with dimming controls in the same area. A master panel will be up front.

Since the facility does have a good source of natural lighting, there is an opportunity to be energy efficient. To help with this, the lighting should be fitted with a Simplified Daylight Harvesting system, which has been developed by the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis. The system is low-cost and easy to install. It uses photosensors to automatically adjust the level of the lights, but also allows for users to adjust settings as well.

Acoustic Recommendations

  • Sound from outside
  • Sound absorbing materials
  • Separate group activity spaces
  • Install wall mounted speakers in the multipurpose area
  • Install microphone system

1ceilingabsorber-lrg.jpgThe library has high, open-beam ceilings which unfortunately lets in noise from outside, as well as reverberates the sound inside. To reduce this, either ceiling absorbers or ceiling tiles need to installed.

Since one of the goals of this learning space is having areas for students to collaborate, the acceptable "noise level" of this library space may be higher than what is traditionally accepted. With SCR-BFSL683-300-300.jpgthat in mind, sound absorbing materials should be used whenever possible. For example, carpeting is considered to be a sound absorbing material. Luckily, the library is already carpeted. Moveable partitions made of acoustic panels is another example. These would be useful for separating collaborative groups both physically and acoustically from other students needing more quiet. Having well-defined areas of use within the library will also help control the acoustics.
Since multimedia requires adequate sound, speakers and amplification are needed. Furthermore, to better facilitate those with hearing impairment, a microphone system needs to be wired into the system. To best achieve this, we will use the Extron Polevault System with Voicelift. This will provide robust sound, and voice amplification when needed.

Computer Technology Recommendations
  • Keep current technology and move towards center of library
  • Purchase appropriate computer tables that allow for easy access by students, monitoring by the librarian, and cable management.
  • Purchase 2 mobile laptop carts for use in the library (each holding 20 laptops)
  • Purchase 40 rugged and wireless laptops for use by classes in the library.
  • Purchase 2 wireless access points to integrate with current network.

The library hascable_problem.jpg reasonably new computer equipment in the form of Compaqs and Apple iMacs. computer_imac.jpgMost have LCD monitors as well. The problem is they are highly underused because of it's poor placement in the library. Moving the existing computers to the center of the library and installing new, more usable, tables will increase their availability and usage. Furthermore, no attempt at cable management has been made in the former design, so the new tables will have a central chase to run all cables. The library is already equipped nicely with floor jacks for electricity, but more jacks may need to be added for power and network access in new locations. In the redesign, 16 Compaq computers are arranged to have an acceptable view of the smart board and multipurpose area.

laptop_cart2.jpgOne way to significantly enhance the usabilty of the multipurpose area for classes is to purchase laptops. Laptops can be set up at the hexagonal tables, or on the backside of computer tables.

In order to do this two laptop cartswill be purchased with room for 20 laptops each. The laptop cart should be secure, portable, rugged, and easy to transport. A good choice is the Da-Lite CT-LS20 for it's ruggedness, large casters, locking doors, and handles for transport.laptop-latitude-2100-overview-block1.jpg

A great choice in laptops would be the Dell Latitude 2100. These laptops have been created with schools in mind and are simple, ruggedized, and even come with a carrying handle. An additional power cord for each laptop is included in the purchase cisco_access_point.jpgorder for times when plugging in is needed.

In order to maximize the usefulness of the laptops, wireless access must be added to the library. The best way to do this is to use Cisco'sproven and reliable access points. Two strategically mounted access points would be sufficient to provide strong wireless access to the whole library. Installation is not complicated and can usually be done by district IT or electrical staff .
In order to allow student to work on multimedia without disturbing others, or to better accommodate visually impaired students, headsets will be available for distribution by the school librarian. It is recommended that educational grade headsets be used to withstand student use. A good choice for this is the Koss SB40 due to it's rugged design, flexible microphone boom, and reliable 3.5 mm jacks.

Furniture photographs -

Hexagonal tables (foldaway)
stackable chairs (school already owns)
bean bag chairs (vinyl)
7-8 station computer/ work desks (long)
round circulation desk (for librarian)
bookcases (6 feet by 4 feet)
triangular pieces for corner
white boards 6 by 6 feet
portable white board learning area
5x5 room dividers
Laptop Carts
Laptop Netbooks (Dell)
Wireless Access Points
PoleVault Sound System

Evaluation of Design

When we initially assessed the Bay Park library we concurred that it was not an adequate learning environment. The space appeared to be more like a storage closet than a library space. The majority of the space was taken up with computers (and cords), leaving very little space for reading or enjoying the library atmosphere. We quickly determined that there were many ways to use the space in a more efficient manner. First, by removing the computers and acquiring lap tops and lap top carts, the space would be opened up for more comfortable reading spaces. Next, by removing unnecessary bookcases and desks, the space could be opened up to allow for group work and engaging learning spaces. Finally, by placing books, furniture, and tables in groupings around the space, we could create engaging and innovative spaces for students.

The design of the Bay Park Library led much to be desired. In assessing the library space we determined that it is important to remember to create an environment that promotes engagement, satisfaction, and learning. In the article titled Assessment: The Key to Creating Spaces That Promote Learning, Sawyer Hunley and Molly Schaller, conducted studies on ways to assess positive learning environments. These studies reviewed the need for students to feel comfortable while learning. It was noted that students react positively to spaces that encourage interactions with peers and teachers, and that students become engaged when their basic needs are met (i.e., comfort). The physical characteristics of the space need to encourage students to work together, and encourage integration.

After our initial assessment of the space we concluded, Bay Park’s current library space was not conducive to the learners’ needs. The following elements brought us to this conclusion; the environment is neither comfortable nor inviting, the space was not being used for the purpose of which it was designed, there was no sense of purpose in the space, and there was limited space for interaction. Our assessment led us to the following additions; activating the air conditioning will create a more comfortable atmosphere in which users can work. The space, as redesigned, will now offer a comfortable, open, and flexible setting that will be appealing to students of all ages. Flexible furniture will also allow immediate transformation in the future as the space evolves. A variety of spaces are provided for students to work individually or as part of a group. Students will have interactive areas in which they can explore, become engaged in academic activities, and be encouraged in pedagogical practices.

Innovative spaces tend to invite teachers with innovative pedagogical teaching practices. “A successful connection between learning space and pedagogical and programmatic innovation requires attention to teacher learning and engagement.” This indicates that there is a reciprocal interaction between how a space is designed and its users (both faculty and students). The new design of the Bay Park library was established to maximize learning in a comfortable and useful setting. In the future, the school will need to assess if the student and faculty have utilized the space effectively, and if the learning experiences of the students is optimal. Specific assessments to determine the effectiveness of the space are planned. The library tech teacher will be asked to monitor the usage of the library, if usage increases it can be determined that more teachers are using the space and the redesign was successful. If not, they will need to determine if this is a symptom of the space or of the teachers and students not using the space efficiently. In addition, six months after the redesign, a survey will be sent out to parents, students, and teachers to assess how the use of space has changed over time. Data from the survey will be analyzed and used for assessment. Ongoing assessment is important, and will be done particularly as technology and innovative learning tools become the norm.


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