Creating a Collaborative Space to Meet 21st Century Needs, Kaye McKinney

Area of focus statement

The purpose of this study is to modify the media center services and environment to provide relevant and central services to a technology-based school community.

Context of study

As the media specialist for R-S Central High School, I serve a school community including students in grades 9-12. I offer direct instruction and support in the areas of research and project development, in a variety of formats. I also engage in collaborative instruction opportunities, supporting the various academic offerings presented in the school curriculum. As media specialist, I strive to meet the needs of every user within the school community and work to serve as a district level leader, in my field, for Rutherford County Schools.

Purpose of the project

What I hoped to accomplish

Rutherford County Schools moved to a 1:1 laptop initiative in 2007. With the advent of this wonderful technology in our schools, our needs in media center services began to change. I noticed a decrease in library use and services and began to investigate options to adjust the media center offerings to meet the evolving needs of the school community.


Although even a small change can improve the support a media center can provide, I felt compelled to restructure both the environment and services of the media center. The redesign concept began with the simple idea of providing white board tabletops. From there, through collaborating with others and seeking input from the Media Technology Committee, the idea for creation of a Learning Commons grew.

The activity

The initial plans for the project developed through discussion with the Media Technology Advisory Committee. I worked out the details of the redesign project and presented the information to the school. The development of the Learning Commons included the creation of white board tables, using repurposed library tables. A green screen broadcasting studio was also added to enhance technology based projects. Finally, the shelving arrangements in the facility were redesigned to improve access and use. Reference materials were inter-shelved with non-fiction and fiction was shelved by genre. The underlying purpose of the activity was to improve relevance and use of the media center facility and services.

Problem of practice question

With the implementation of a 1:1 laptop initiative, a decrease in library patronage and acceptance of collaborative instruction opportunities became evident. As the school community adapted to the use of laptops, use of the library facility and resources steadily declined. Students needed support in selecting and using valid resources, appropriate citation skills, and general support in creating products with the provided technology. Media Center offerings, in both the environment and materials, needed to be modified to return the media center to a central and relevant resource for the school community.
Research Questions:
What changes are needed in the media center to provide relevant services in a technology-based school community?
How will media center changes increase patronage and collaborative instruction?
How will media center changes improve student product development and citation skills?
I will initially conduct a needs assessment for both faculty and students, seeking input on changes that support school needs. Additionally, I will conduct pre & post-opinion surveys with the school community related to the service and relevance of the media center to the school. A likert scale will be utilized in the pre/post surveys to incorporate quantitative data. Library circulation statistics from previous years will also be compared to the circulation statistics, during and after the ARP implementation. Media center advocacy programs will be included to increase circulation and portions of the facility will be redesigned to accommodate technology-based product development.
Initially, I will seek interested participants to serve on the Media/Technology Advisory Committee. The members of this committee should, as much as possible, be representative of each department within the school and other invested members of the school community. I will also work directly with the Instructional Technology Facilitator to determine needs and possible modifications. Potential changes will be discussed with the school administration, prior to implementation.