Rendina’s suggestions are based on years of experience and practice, and she does an excellent job providing thorough and thoughtful advice on how to transform the library into a space that supports flexible, collaborative, and hands-on learning.
From there, chapter 1 explores the importance of not only advocating for more modern spaces, but also for advocating for actually having the position of a library media specialist running those spaces. One of the most helpful features of this chapter (and the book in general) is that Rendina includes “Library Profiles” which offer as a glimpse into how schools around the country are managing their library spaces. Rendina includes an overview of the spaces as well as images to get a better idea of how they are setup and organized.
Chapter 2 offers a crash course in learning space design theory. Rendina provides a useful and practical summary of multiple learning space design theories and discusses how these theories can be put into action when redesigning a library. This chapter provides a wide variety of beneficial examples for how to connect theory to practice, specifically in terms of library spaces.
Chapter 3 specifically focuses on integrating technology into library spaces in support of student learning. Rendina begins by discussing how spaces can shift away from traditional computer lab models to more collaborative spaces. She also covers how libraries can better support BYOD and 1:1 policies, as well as making space for programs like audio and video production, graphic design, and photography. The chapter concludes by looking at how makerspaces can also be incorporated in library spaces and Rendina offers specific action steps for how schools might move forward.
Chapter 4 looks at beginning the process of transformation by examining a library’s current state, and essentially performing a needs analysis to better understand how goals can be reached. Rendina provides an incredibly practical overview of how to conduct this needs analysis, offering a variety of tutorials and guides that schools and library media specialists can use along the way.
Chapter 5 focuses on finding inspiration for your new space, and offers suggestions for where and how to look for ideas and inspiration. And chapter 6 discusses how you can take that inspiration and begin making changes (even on a limited budget). This is probably my favorite chapter, as Rendina covers a lot of ground in terms of free and cost-effective changes that can be made to revitalize the library space.
For everything that can’t be fit within the budget, chapter 8 looks at funding opportunities. From crowdfunding to grants to donations, Rendina offers multiple ideas for how schools can procure funds and items for the redesign.
Finally, chapter 9 discusses the importance of looking ahead, and planning for the long term. Rendina discusses how you might redesign a library space to also leave room for future growth and change, so that the space does not become obsolete down the road.
Overall, Reimagining Library Spaces is an excellent, thoughtful, and practical read. I love how each chapter ends with action steps, so that you have a tangible suggestion for moving forward. It’s a perfect resource for any school or library media specialist that is considering redesigning the library space on both the small and large scale level.
If you’re interested in learning about more from Rendina you can also check out her blog at RenovatedLearning.com