EdifideLeading Learning from the Library Learning Commons

Technology is driving change across society, profoundly altering the way we work, play and learn. As we address this challenge, educators across Canada and around the world are re-imagining the potential of the library to be a true learning commons: the physical and virtual collaborative hub within a whole-school approach to participatory learning.  In this session we’ll delve into the learning commons approach. We’ll explore strategies for leveraging the library program to engage learners through inquiry, inspire creativity and critical thinking, and build knowledge collaboratively, so that students emerge with the skills they need not only to survive, but to thrive in our increasingly networked world.

What is a Learning Commons?

Together for Learning: School Libraries and the Emergence of the Learning Commons

TogetherforLearningWhat is a Learning Commons?

A Learning Commons is a flexible and responsive approach to helping schools focus on learning collaboratively. It expands the learning experience, taking students and educators into virtual spaces beyond the walls of a school.

A Learning Commons is a vibrant, whole-school approach, presenting exciting opportunities for collaboration among teachers, teacher-librarians and students. Within a Learning Commons, new relationships are formed between learners, new technologies are realized and utilized, and both students and educators prepare for the future as they learn new ways to learn.

And best of all, as a space traditionally and naturally designed to facilitate people working together, a school’s library provides the natural dynamics for developing a Learning Commons.

Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada

Leading Learning“All schools in Canada need to be able to develop and support excellent school libraries responsive to the diverse needs of learners today and into the future. This means that all schools large and small, urban and rural, public and private, brick and mortar or virtual, need to provide access to teaching expertise in the library as well as best resources, technologies and physical and virtual learning spaces to support learner needs as they evolve. The transitioning of the school library to school library learning commons establishes the vision and structure to address these evolving needs and encourages continuous growth.” (Leading Learning p. 7)

School Library Learning Commons: Learning Spaces

Leading Learning: Learning Environments

Active and knowledgeable involvement in participatory learning is a necessary competence for today’s learners. Learning commons spaces, collections and tools are changing in response to this paradigm shift. Working together in groups, both virtually and in person is the new norm. Inherent in these activities is the importance of security, privacy and good digital citizenship practices as well as effective collaboration skills and ensuring accessibility for all. A learning commons can provide both the physical and virtual learning environments as well as provide the supports necessary for the student to be an active participatory learner. The Learning Commons Leadership Team reviews and revises LLC learning environments to meet these evolving needs. (Leading Learning, 2014)

What can you do at your school to transform the library to a library learning commons?

Moving Forward with the Library Learning Commons

How can OACS schools collaborate and support each other to leverage the library as a learning commons?


Together for Learning: School Libraries and the Emergence of the Learning Commons
Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada
QSLiN Learning Commons Digital Badges
QSLiN YouTube Channel: Library Learning Commons
If Your Build It They Will Come: Sharing MakerSpace Bins @ Upper Grand DSB

Resources By the Brooks

School Library Learning Commons
School Library Learning Commons Guidelines and Standards
Learning Spaces
Digital Literacy
Learning Commons Idea Boards on Pinterest


Ontario School Library Association
Ontario Library Association
Canadian School Libraries
Federation of Canadian Library Associations
Ontario Association of Library Technicians