May went by quickly as I traveled for the research section of my project. Now I am back in Wellington looking at piles of sticky notes, student drawings, and transcribed quotes. Thank goodness I did not actual record the groups as planned, or I would also be lost in hours of recordings as well.
Overall, the students are more concerned with what they can do in the library and how it feels as a space than they are about the items they can check out from the library. They clearly expressed the desire for a comfortable space that they can use to relax and "chill" as a break from the larger demands of school. In terms of the librarian, they are more concerned with "people skills" than reading or book skills.
As I analyse and look for patterns in the results, a few outliers were interesting and fun. When asked what they (the secondary students in the group) want to be able to do in the library, one answered:
I want to go there when I can not be bothered to go to class.
When a group of primary students were asked to expand their imagination and think of things they would want to do in the library, not just what they can already do. They came up with:
Eating under the tables
A trampoline in the floor
A roof terrace to jump off of onto the trampoline
Two lighted tunnels for racing games
Unlimited access to all scary rated M video games
Some of the students put out high expectation for the librarian. They thought the librarian should be:
Artistic, Creative, Interesting, and Crafty
A Good speller
Heartfelt and Loving
Passionate about the library
A bonus to visiting schools was finding a particular primary site that felt like home. It was a similar size to my home school and had the same warm and family like feel that we capture on our best days: staff were talking with students and helping them in a loving way. It was by no means perfect. I observed staff calmly helping students deescalate, tutors encouraging reluctant learners, free food being distributed, and teachers supporting each other. As the librarian said, "We have issues, but the school is approaching them in the right way. We are trying to get students ready to learn."
These are some of the in the bathroom stall messages.
There was no single amazing story to tell about the school. Just altogether it stood out as a special place.