Submitted by Jo-Anne Gibson, MSLA SAGE Conference Chair
You’ve all heard the terms “learning commons” and “makerspace” but what do they really look like and how do they actually function in a school setting? For this year’s MTS PD Day, the Manitoba School Library Association and the Manitoba Library Technician Association has planned a unique learning opportunity. Two bus tours, each visiting three elementary, one middle and one high school library learning commons and makerspaces in Winnipeg, have been planned. The tours are not just meant for those working in school libraries. The MSLA has encouraged all teachers and school administrators who want to see their school libraries flourish in the 21st century and help them institute a maker culture to attend.
Participants in the SAGE conference will begin their day with a healthy snack, networking and visiting at their first school. From there, they will board one of two fully-equipped highway buses which will travel to two different elementary schools. The buses will converge again for lunch at a local high school where there will be pop-up publisher displays. During the afternoon, one tour will travel to a middle school and the other to a K to 12 independent school before returning to their first school to pick up their cars.
Every school library learning commons chosen to be a part of the tours have library staff(s) that have embraced the learning commons concept and makerspace culture. Participants will find something unique and innovative in both the library programming and physical library spaces of each of the schools chosen. Every school division in metro Winnipeg and one independent school is represented on these tours. In addition to schools at various levels, one French Immersion, one Ukrainian Immersion, and one English/French dual track schools have been included on the tours.
Each bus will have a tour guide who will lead activities throughout the day. To connect the two buses during the tours, participants are encouraged to use the Twitter and Instagram hashtag #mtspdday. In addition to some great door prizes, two lucky participants with receive a $400 bursary to further their education in school libraries.
Clearly there was a need for this event because it was completely sold out one month prior!