Library Learning Commons Proposal


In 1994, the University High School Library was redesigned to meet both the academic needs of the student body and the staff.  The space provided ample fixed shelving units, a split level space for students, and a computer lab of 40 computers.  In 2015, we have an opportunity to evolve with the time and re-envision the library to become a Learning Commons designed to respond actively, directly, and with far greater impact, to the common core curriculum.  The evolution of the Learning Commons program in the library has already taken flight and the space is being prepared to introduce our new program; however, we lack the funding to finalize the transformation that is already in place.  

Working Towards a Learning Commons Needs

Space:  The library lacks both adequate quiet study and group study work space, has uncomfortable and unattractive furniture, poor lighting, lack of power stations for students to power their devices, and a split level layout that makes it challenging to manage students.

Technology:  Students and faculty expressed a need a for more space for students to collaborate, work on projects, technology-rich work spaces with whiteboards, increased circulation of laptops and tablets.

Programs and Services:  Students and faculty felt that the library provided quality services but there was an overall feeling that the library program needed to find better ways to connect students to resources to support their school work.

Information Resources:  A desire for better online material, including books and databases, was expressed by staff and students.  In addition, a web presence that simplifies the navigation process and provides information literate atmosphere.  

Maker Space: the library is not aligned well with the maker community.  Requests for more space, tools, brainstorming areas, and technology were found to be unsupported.

Inspiration: the library has blank walls that provide no feelings or connection to the world outside of University High School.  This stale environment does not represent the culturally rich student body.  


The library is a dedicated to partnering with teachers to design higher quality research projects and assignments in order to develop the information literacy skills to be successful during high school and beyond. The library space aims to be the central meeting point on campus for teachers and students, offering a 21st Century learning environment that combines print resources, electronic resources, and student art displays to further student literacy.  

The Learning Commons program will develop community, creativity and curiosity.  The Learning Commons programs aims to meet our student/faculty needs by including quiet study, collaborative study, social connections, resources exploration and creation.  The Learning Commons renovation will allow the library to reconfigure our split level areas to better manage our quiet/active areas.  

Our new space provide a balanced mix of areas to better serve our students and teachers.

  • Open collaborative floor plan
  • Maker Space Media Area
  • Research Workshops and consultations
  • Workshop area
  • Integrated art gallery/murals


The Learning Commons has the potential to transform the student experience at UHS.  The Learning Commons will connect students both physically and virtually with resources.  The space will build community by encouraging creativity and collaboration.  The renovation will address key challenges that are holding back our students experience at University High School.  


Building a Learning Commons - Timeline of Events/Milestones

  • 2012/Spring - weeded books are turned into art display 
  • 201/Spring - First art mural installed outside of the library doors as a welcome to the UHS students - completed by UHS art student
  • 2013/June - First art mural depicting yearbook theme to touch the walls of the library completed by AP Art students at UHS - located above circulation desk
  • 2014/Fall - storage room converted to club meeting space equipped with projector and whiteboard paint on the walls for collaborative work space
  • 2014/June - Second art mural installed depicting yearbook theme completed by AP Art students at UHS 
  • 2015/June - Third art mural installed depicting yearbook theme completed by AP Art students at UHS
  • 2015/June - New library website launched using Squarespace
  • 2015/Spring - begin weeding non-fiction section to create new space
  • 2015/Summer - three large 8' by 20' shelves removed in preparation for new space
  • 2015/June - new fiction section mural installed to attract student attention
  • 2015/June - new fiction section unveiled with space for students to discover new titles and collaborate
  • 2015/Fall - computer lab disassembled and moved from center of the library making way for new computer lab in 509
  • 2015/Fall - 40 laptops introduced into the circulation in the library  - students now use laptops instead of desktop computers in the library
  • 2015/Fall - 6 new raised tables with modern mobile chairs installed in the library
  • 2015/Fall - power installed on two round table tops to provide students ability to power their own devices
  • 2015/Fall - non-fiction titles are continually weeded to discard titles based on age/use/quality
  • 2015/Fall - first Tiny Library Concert during Office Hours featuring Shiva (70 students attended
  • 2015/Spring - Student art show for Fine Arts Week - installation is located in the upper library


Impact of Space Transformation

  • 40 percent increase in library books checked out
  • "I love what you have done with the library" - said every student who visits
  • Average of 120 patrons per break time (before school/snack/lunch/after school)


In order to transform the library into a Learning Commons the library is asking for the following to be funded: