Surveying Teachers’ Responses to Library Design: Lessons From the Learning Commons Model


Many school administrators and librarians offer students opportunities to hone social skills while they research, read, and learn in libraries. Recently, transforming traditional libraries into spaces known as “learning commons” has become a popular way to match the social and academic preferences of students with numerous technological learning amenities offered at school. However, using survey methodology, this study examined the designs of learning commons in three secondary schools as they related specifically to teachers. The frequency and quality of collaboration among teachers, and between teachers and teacher librarians, was measured along with teachers’ perceptions of engagement, job satisfaction, and design attributes germane to the learning commons model. Questionnaires were customized for each school. Two schools had completed renovations at the time of data collection, limiting the ability to perform before-and-after studies. Renovations had not begun in the third participating school’s library when survey data were gathered from teachers. Flexible communication strategies among those involved in the study allowed for its successful completion. Teachers at one school responded more positively toward their learning commons than those at the other two schools and significant differences in teachers’ reactions were found within each school. Thus, trusting relationships had to be formed between the researcher and teachers, teacher librarians, and school administrators to inform the study about a culture of change and professional development concerning the use of learning commons.

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