Submitted by Lopez Island Library
The Lopez Island Library is proud to announce they have been selected as one of 15 public libraries in the nation to participate in the “Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces” grant project led by the Online Computer Library Center in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries. The award is multifaceted, including library staff education as well as community participation.
Over the next 15 months, participating Lopez Library staff will be guided through a training project by OCLC’s online education organization WebJunction and will work with the Lopez community to reimagine and reconfigure library space to encourage social engagement and active learning.
The concept of “active learning,” as defined by WebJunction, positions learners of all ages as co-creators of knowledge and experience. Active learning is participatory, informal, interest-driven and relevant to real life. Active learning emphasizes the vital connection between interests, peer interaction and learning content, and adheres to four learning principles: learning happens by doing; everyone can participate; challenge is constant; and everything is connected.
Over the course of the grant period, Lopez Library staff will gather in online training sessions with staff from other small libraries across the country to learn and apply principles of placemaking, community engagement and human-centered space and service design. After conducting community input sessions, action planning and prototyping, the Lopez Library will create an active learning space within the library facility, using a $5,000 sub-grant toward materials.
The Lopez Library was one of 120 applicants from 38 states that applied for this funding project. The selected libraries represent 15 states and serve communities ranging in size from 900 to 15,500 people. The “Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces” grant was created by OCLC in response to the evolving role of public libraries and how they relate to their communities. In an age of information density and rapid technological change, the library becomes ever more important as a learning place and social hub for the community. As mentioned, community input is an important aspect of this project, so please stay tuned for how to be involved in helping the Lopez Library create more space and opportunity for active learning.