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Although the learning commons approach to learning is a whole school philosophy, teacher librarian expertise leads and facilitates the collaborative work. We suggest a learning commons committee with representation from staff, students and community to plan transformations and advance school improvement goals. As well as the teacher librarian, various specialists in the school also make the learning commons their home base for making a difference across the school. Teacher technologist, reading coaches, and other specialist find natural partnership opportunities in the learning commons. Other library staff and adult volunteers are a welcome addition to keeping this busy learning hub running smoothly.  In addition to the adults, we have noticed that successful programs rely on students as members of an iStaff, an iTeam, a Geek Squad, a Mouse Squad, or some other club name whose responsibility is not only to keep the learning commons humming such as staffing a Genius Bar, but also to test and spread their expertise in information and technology across the school. Teachers can rely on these students to be expert coaches and assist as new information or technology tools are incorporated into learning experiences. Below, you will find a few articles describing the roles and responsibilities of the staff of the learning commons. Please contribute your own views, experiences, and other valuable sources either at the bottom of this page or on the blog.


Adult Staff

  • Teacher librarian Roger Nevin takes pity on Cynthia Sargeant  and provides her office space in the learning commons. Suddenly, they discover a whole new collaborative program.
    Cynthia Sargeant and Roger Nevin
  • Kelly Czarnecki answers questions about how the tech staff and librarians lead the way to Web 2.O.
    Kelly Czarnecki
  • Steve Hargadon provides his recommendations to teacher librarians who want to succeed in the world of the learning commons.
    Steve Hargadon

Students and Volunteer Staff

  • Sue Kowalski describes the contribution of her iTeam to her middle school in Syracuse NY
    Sue Kowalski
  • Susan Schwartz and Meredith Summs describe their MOUSE squad and their invention for a fellow blind student in a New York City high school.
    Susan Schwartz and Meredith Summs
  • Karen Ramsey describes her high school Tech Squad who are invaluable to the school in Alberta, Canada.
    Karen Ramsey

What’s Next?

Back to the Gallery; or, on to The Workshop

4 comments on “Staffing

  1. I remember when I when I school, there used to be an AV Club that would deliver and set up movie projectors (I just dated myself, didn’t I?) I think that incorporating the students would be a GREAT idea. I have students assigned to me throughout the day. One thing I would like to be proficient in is the use of the databases. When classes come in, there is me and a teacher trying to assist 35 kids. A few extra sets of hands would be a great thing. Plus it would be great experience for my students to instruct others. Finally, having a trained volunteer student workforce would assist our lone computer tech. That poor guy gets inundated with calls all day long from teachers for the simplest of things. maw

    • What a great idea! I think getting students to help you out is the perfect way to give you the much needed extra sets of hands but also gives those student helpers a great opportunity in teaching and learning. I find that sometimes when a peer/classmate helps me with a new concept or skill I seem to learn it faster. I hope you are able to get your student workforce.

  2. Tech teams comprised of students should, I believe, be an element of every school in the country. Aside from the obvious advantage of solving the problem you mention (one teacher trying to assist 35 kids), it takes teaching and learning and frames them in a collaborative and egalitarian context and removes them from the realm of ‘instruction delivered from on high’. It’s strange that it’s used so little given that teachers have extolling the virtues of ‘learning through teaching’ for a long, long time. – Vaughn Egge, SLIS Student

  3. Our elementary school is implementing Mouse Squad which trains students to be the front line tech experts at the school. I know other schools have used it successfully at higher grades. Of course, as with everything, it requires time, organization, and resources but I imagine the payoffs would be worth it. I agree that the more we can have the students involved the better. There are lots of ways for people to be successful, school should show kids as many options as possible. Shannon Greene LBIR233 SP13

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