About a year ago I sat down to research and write an article for Knowledge Quest, the Journal of the American Association of School Librarians. I was asked by guest editor Pam Harland to contribute a piece on library spaces. As I thought about finding an under-documented angle on the topic, I ended up questioning current trends in school library design — or at least any overemphasis on collaborative space. The first few sentences of the article, which get at my concerns, reveal why I think peace and quiet should always be part of the library setting:
Much has been written about the advantages associated with the learning commons model of library design. Less has been written about its drawbacks. The open, technology-rich, and collaborative atmosphere of a commons nicely supports teaching, group work, and digital communication. Yet, for some tasks and for some students, the commons atmosphere might also limit the library’s usefulness.