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Remodelling your school library and in need of ideas? You've come to the right place! The team has put together a list of resources for you to look at and find some inspiration. 

REcommended books

Recommended books by experts on reading, library design and pedagogical spaces.

Transforming Libraries: A Toolkit for Innovators, Makers and Seekers

“Why do we need libraries when we have Google?”

Today’s libraries are in jeopardy. And yes, perhaps if libraries were only book warehouses, we wouldn’t need them. But libraries can be so much more than a place to check out books. In the Digital Age, it’s more important than ever for libraries to evolve into gathering points for collaboration, spaces for innovation, and places where authentic learning occurs. 

Transforming Libraries proposes a new role for librarians and for libraries—one that offers patrons places to think, to explore, to create, and problem-solve together. Rather than the quiet dusty hall of decades past, Ron Starker reveals ways to make libraries makerspaces, innovation centers, community commons, and learning design studios that engage multiple forms of intelligence. 

Packed with almost 500 tools and resources, Transforming Libraries offers real-life examples of how to turn libraries into intelligently designed centers that are essential for today’s schools.

Authored by architect Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, a former director of the initiative, the book catalogs most of the 56 New York public school libraries redesigned pro bono by some of New York’s leading architecture firms—1100 ArchitectGluckman MaynerRockwell GroupTod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and Weiss/Manfredi, among others.

Beyond the colorful project profiles, chock full of images, the book also contains extensive details about the structure of The L!brary Initiative. In that sense, it’s a veritable guide for other communities interested launching something akin to Robin Hood’s program, which was sunset in recent years, but lives on in 56 public schools across New York’s five boroughs.

To keep school libraries relevant, their physical spaces need to be reinvented to mirror 21st-century learning models. This book will enable everyone from school librarians and principals to district-level administrators, architects, and interior planners of school library spaces to reconceptualize school libraries.

School libraries provide invaluable benefits and services, but many of today's school administrators, parents, and students no longer see their value. Now most students have their own computing devices and the use of eBooks is on the rise; students can gather information anywhere, at any time. This book offers bold new ways to think about library spaces and suggests how libraries can provide the spaces needed to encourage students to explore learning. It also presents librarians with dynamic ideas and plans that can be used as a springboard for planning with school administrators, architects, and builders.

The book identifies opportunities for creating spaces that support instructional models such as guided inquiry, examines technology skills needed after graduation, shows digital media hubs complementing maker spaces, and discusses how incorporating social media spaces into library design can encourage learning. The author guides librarians through the process of documenting the district learning goals in order to translate those specific goals into library space plans for an architect or interior designer. Readers will discover templates for flexible, up-to-date library designs that serve to not only improve students' learning and critical thinking skills but also to emphasize the modern school librarian's role in boosting academic achievement.

Based on the work at the Stanford University and its Environments Collaborative Initiative, Make Space is a tool that shows how space can be intentionally manipulated to ignite creativity.  Appropriate for designers charged with creating new spaces or anyone interested in revamping an existing space, this guide offers novel and non-obvious strategies for changing surroundings specifically to enhance the ways in which teams and individuals communicate, work, play--and innovate.


Inside are: Tools-tips on how to build everything from furniture, to wall treatments, and rigging. Situations--scenarios, and layouts for sparking creative activities. Insights--bite-sized lessons designed to shortcut your learning curve. Space Studies--candid stories with lessons on creating spaces for making, learning, imagining, and connecting. Design Template--a framework for understanding, planning, and building collaborative environments. Make Space is a new and dynamic resource for activating creativity, communication and innovation across institutions, corporations, teams, and schools alike. Filled with tips and instructions that can be approached from a wide variety of angles, Make Space is a ready resource for empowering anyone to take control of an environment.

Created by an international team of architects and designers concerned about our failing education system, The Third Teacher explores the critical link between the school environment and how children learn, and offers 79 practical design ideas, both great and small, to guide reader's efforts to improve our schools. Written for anyone who has school-age children in their life, from educators and education decision-makers to parents and community activists, this book is intended to ignite a blaze of discussion and initiative about environment as an essential element of learning. Including a wealth of interviews, facts, statistics, and stories from experts in a wide range of fields, this book is a how-to guide to be used to connect with the many organizations, individuals, and ideas dedicated to innovating and improving teaching and learning. Contributors include children's singer and advocate Raffi, author and creativity consultant Sir Ken Robinson, scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki, inventor James Dyson, and other experts who are working to create fresh solutions to problems and create a new blueprint for the future of education.

Reading for pleasure urgently requires a higher profile to raise attainment and increase children’s engagement as self-motivated and socially interactive readers. Building Communities of Engaged Readers highlights the concept of ‘Reading Teachers’ who are not only knowledgeable about texts for children, but are aware of their own reading identities and prepared to share their enthusiasm and understanding of what being a reader means. Sharing the processes of reading with young readers is an innovative approach to developing new generations of readers.


Examining the interplay between the ‘will and the skill’ to read, the book distinctively details a reading for pleasure pedagogy and demonstrates that reader engagement is strongly influenced by relationships between children, teachers, families and communities. Importantly it provides compelling evidence that reciprocal reading communities in school encompass:

  • a shared concept of what it means to be a reader in the 21st century;

  • considerable teacher and child knowledge of children’s literature and other texts;

  • pedagogic practices which acknowledge and develop diverse reader identities;

  • spontaneous ‘inside-text talk’ on the part of all members;

  • a shift in the focus of control and new social spaces that encourage choice and children’s rights as readers.


Written by experts in the literacy field and illustrated throughout with examples from the project schools, it is essential reading for all those concerned with improving young people’s enjoyment of and attainment in reading.

Drawing upon data published in a variety of scholarly journals, monographs in education, cultural studies, media studies, and libraries and information studies, as well as their own research findings, these authors shatter some of the popular myths about reading and offer a cogent case for the library's vital role in the life of a reader. By providing a road map to research findings on reading, reader-response, audiences, genres, the value of popular culture, the social nature of reading, and the role of libraries in promoting literacy and reading, this guide offers a clear rationale for making pleasure reading a priority in the library and in schools.


The authors assert that reading for pleasure is as vital as ever; and that it is, and should be, woven into the majority of activities librarians consider fundamental: reference, collection building, provision of leisure materials, readers' advisory services, storytelling programs, adult literacy programs, and the like. Reading Matters covers myths about reading, the boy problem, reading and identity, how readers select books, and reading as a social activity. An essential resource for library administrators and personnel, the book will help them convey a message about the importance of reading to grant-funding agencies and others. It contains powerful proof that can be used to justify the establishment, maintenance, and growth of fiction (and other pleasure reading) collections, and of readers' advisory services. It is also of interest to LIS faculty who wish to establish/maintain courses in readers' advisory, and can be used as supplemental reading in these classes. Finally, it is a great model and aide for additional research on this topic.

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Survey Templates

Assess your school's reading health by using one of our surveys to better understand how students and teachers look at the school library.

The Reading Health Check is a preliminary measure of your school's reading culture by the staff. The Health Check can be modified at request for students. Please email for further information. 

An online version of the Reading Health Check may be obtained from the BRC project. A hardcopy of the Reading Health Check is amended to the hyperlink. 


Please email for permission to use the hard or online copy.

Click on the book to download the Reading Health Check

A Library User Survey allows the school to understand the needs of its students and teachers, providing information for library renewal and renovation. This Library User Survey may be modified for each school’s use with permission from the BCR project.


Please email for permissions. The BCR project can also provide consultation by adapting the the online instrument for your school’s use and compiling the results. For more information, please email

Click on the clipboard to download the Library User Survey

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REcommended websites

Recommended websites for reading and library ideas

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. 

The International Federation of Libraries Association (IFLA) provides guidelines for school libraries. For the 2nd edition of the IFLA Guidelines, please download from

The Reading Excellence Award 2017, brought to you by NLB and MOE, recognises MOE primary and secondary schools that have developed excellent reading programmes which promote a love of reading among students.

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