Why Groups & Libraries?

This is the fourth post in a five post series on helping learners navigate group life. Here are the first, second, and third posts.

Why Library? 

Previously, we’ve posted on the increase in attention inquiry has received given how inquiry equips students with a process of learning that they can use to navigate ambiguous tasks. We’ve also positioned the library as a central space for inquiry, a space that’s equipped with various tools, informational resources, and places to make inquiry happen.

While it’s crucial that individuals learn how to learn through the inquiry process, it’s as important that individuals learn how to learn in groups. After all, it’s a big world and the problems are too many to rely on solo master inquirers to solve them for us. Instead, we’ll need people who are equipped to work in groups and facilitate groups masterfully as each individual brings a unique body of knowledge and skillset to aid group success. If each of our learners is pursuing individual lines of inquiry based on their interest in a particular topic, then we’ll have opportunity to team several up for a project experience so they can teach each other and learn a topic even more holistically.

I’ve always said that libraries are spaces for conversations with a text and with another person. Collaboration is just a specialized conversation the library can help facilitate.

The Co-Lab:

In fact, the Annie Wright Schools Parents’ Association was kind enough to donate funds necessary to flip the librarian’s office into the Co-Lab, a collaboration laboratory that groups in our community can book to enhance maintenance and tasks. The seating is flexible, the windows are writeable, and with a little advanced notice, it comes equipped with supplies and facilitators that can make your group fly. Attendees can learn how they might use four spatial factors to modify a room to suit their meeting’s goals. They might learn about task-maintenance, or they might learn how to use various activities and techniques to proactively encounter group challenges.

Group Life at AWS

This series of posts isn’t to say that we don’t teach collaborative skills elsewhere in school. In fact, we’ve been doing such fantastic work with teamwork for many years. Here are just a few highlights:

  • Our 4th Grade completes an entire inquiry unit on “How We Organize Ourselves,” where they explore leadership in their community and build teamwork skills that they use for the rest of the year.
  • Our 2nd grade works on team skills as they design their own team experience in their normal classrooms but also for their physical education experience.
  • Our IB Business course helps students practice team-building and team success as they develop proposals and business plans.

Of course, there are many other instances of how we help our learners learn group skills, but these are just a few of the highlights I have seen in my short term as librarian!

Next Post: Further Reading on Group Process

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One thought on “Why Groups & Libraries?

  1. […] on group process and collaboration. For context, here are links to the first, second, third, and fourth […]

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