Creating a student-focused collaborative study space for the Information Age

Innovative new ‘SpaceBook’ Library at Ironi Hey High School
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REQUESTED DONATION:

$140,000

STATUS:

FOR DONATION

AREA:

PROJECTS / EDUCATION

PROJECT

Convert the Ironi Hey High School library into a social and study space.

OBJECTIVE

Create a dynamic learning and meeting place for students in the existing unused library space.

IMPORTANCE

In this Information Age, traditional libraries where a librarian insists on silence and shelves are stacked with dusty books that are no longer relevant. Students need social and study spaces that facilitate interaction and collaboration.

INVESTMENT

The requested donation for the project is $140,000, which will be matched by the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo.

THE BACKGROUND

‘SpaceBook’ is an initiative originally designed and implemented by students from one of Tel Aviv’s local high schools a few years ago after receiving a
grant from the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo to convert their school library into a social and study space. A SpaceBook library is designed to encourage interactive and collaborative learning in a relaxed and fun way, as opposed to a traditional library where a librarian insists on absolute silence and shelves are stacked with dusty books. Following the success of the SpaceBook model, the Ironi Hey High School is planning to renovate its library and convert it into a SpaceBook library. Ironi Hey High School is located in north Tel Aviv and caters to 572 students in Grades 7-12. The school is committed to academic excellence as well as social and community involvement.

THE NEED

School libraries have become increasingly irrelevant and unused in recent years. Far fewer numbers of students seek quiet learning environments; rather, learning – like so many things in young people’s lives – has become a much more social experience. Students do not use public libraries and access
information via the internet, not books. In this Information Age, there is a gap between the traditional purpose of a library – accessing books and studying in silence – and the current needs of students. Today, students need to develop collaborative skills and seek social spaces that allow them to meet and rest as well as learn during the school day. In schools that have already converted their library to a SpaceBook library, feedback from both teachers and students has been very positive. Many teachers bring their students to the library to conduct classes, while students report that the space ‘speaks’ to them and they enjoy working in it.

THE PROJECT

The vision of a SpaceBook library is to create a place to meet and research, think, learn and create. Significantly, the focus of this new kind of library shifts
from books to students. Planning for a new SpaceBook library is based on three principles:

1. Designed and managed by students. Students are responsible for the operation and services provided in a SpaceBook library. In other schools, this includes workshops on research and study skills, mentoring, etc.

2. Dynamism. A SpaceBook library needs to be dynamic, evolving, and lively so that it attracts and supports a diversity of students throughout the year. The key challenge is maintaining its attractiveness over time.

3. Inviting and Modular Design. The interior design needs to be inviting and comfortable. Furniture needs to be modular and mobile so that it can be moved around the space to facilitate collaboration and meet different student needs. Existing furniture will be utilized as much as possible.

A SpaceBook library is open throughout the school day, including breaks, and students are permitted to enter even without a supervising teacher for individual and group study. A SpaceBook library may also be opened after school hours so students can study for exams. It is important that the teacher who staffs the SpaceBook library is equipped to respond to student questions and advise them on study strategies.

THE INVESTMENT

The budget is as follows:
Building Works $100,000
Furniture and Equipment $180,000
Total Cost $280,000

The Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo will match the donation, as follows
Contribution from the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo $140,000

REQUESTED DONATION $140,000

 

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