- Our Town
Library begins journey to the 21st Century
With a two-thousand dollar grant awarded by this week by the municipality to the BICS Parent Advisory Committee, and a 5 thousand dollar private donation, the library at BICS is ready to begin its transformation into a learning space fit for the 21st Century.
“At this point, a computer lab is outdated,” says Parent Advisory Committee member Cam Hayduk. “Computers are mobile now, and in the new library that will be reflected in a café-style area with Ipad docs. It will be a gathering space that integrates media, online learning and collaboration.”
Hayduk compares the vision for the future of the BICS library to the UBC Learning Commons. This transformed-library offers a multi-media help desk, tutoring in math, physics, economics and chemistry, writing support and peer academic coaching.
"The BICS Learning Commons would be age-appropriate, of course," says Hayduk. "But the goal is to provide a space for hands-on learning, digital literacy, collaboration - and not just between students, but also between teachers."
The, “Learning Commons Model” tries to harness the ability of today’s students to use emerging technologies, but seeks to teach them how to use these tools for learning and critical thinking.
The librarian-teacher at BICS, Kalen Marquis, sees this as a lifeline for libraries. As a teacher with a graduate diploma in literacy, he’s a natural fit for this position. However, it is only two days a week, which is standard according to school budgets in the West Vancouver School Board.
“I think a lot of school librarians are like me,” he says. “We embrace this shift as a necessary rebranding.”
Marquis says he's not typically the first to jump on new technologies, but believes libraries should play a critical role in teaching kids how to access information.
“If you send your kid off to do his homework with an I-pad in his hand you may as well just send him to the skate park,” he says. “We have access to more information than ever, but we need kids to understand why something comes to the top of the page on Google.”
Currently, Marquis tries to spend at least half an hour with every class between kindergarten and grade five during his two days at the school. The library is open for kids at lunch time every day under the supervision of a library assistant, and teachers and schedule special library visits with their classes on the days he is not there.
“Our hope would be that with the transformation of the library, it would be reinvigorated, and we could find more funding for programs," says Marquis.
Hayduk says the Parent Advisory Committee, alongside the school, is still in the planning phases of this project.
"The sky's the limit," he says. "Or maybe the limit is what we fundraise."
A fundraising campaign for this project is likely to begin in the New Year.