We started out at the high school, which looked very much like the picture above. Students busy studying, either singly or in groups. Intensity of purpose, focus, active learning and engagement were all in evidence. Emily Colpi the Librarian at Mariemont High School (and the district librarian) gave me a whirlwind tour of not only the physical spaces, but the mental and emotional spaces the libraries serve.
Emily is a forward looking thinker and loves to experiment with everything. The latest experiment is in collaborative learning tools, whether they come from furniture makers or technology start-ups. Mariemont High School library is the first school library I've visited which has an area of booths with monitors for a facilitated group project environment. What's even more surprising is their plan to roll out a similar set-up in the elementary school library in Terrace Park. The booths are already installed, the jacks are in the walls, and soon the monitors will be too.
How does Emily get the funding for such innovations? Emily is very grateful for the support of her administration but also of a dedicated group of parents who write grants and otherwise find funding for special projects in the library and around the school district. It makes sense. If you want a superior sports program, you need athletic boosters. Nowadays, if you want a superior learning environment, you need library boosters too!