Brain Friendly School Libraries

Brain Friendly School Libraries

Brain Friendly School Libraries

Brain Friendly School Libraries


This title gives concrete practical examples of how to align school library programs and instructional practice with the six key concepts of brain-compatible learning: increasing input to the brain; increasing experiential data; multiple source feedback; reducing threat; involving students in learning decision making; and interdisciplinary unit planning.


Education is discovering the brain and that’s about the best news there
could be… [A]nyone who does not have a thorough, holistic grasp of
the brain’s architecture, purposes, and main ways of operating is as far
behind the times as an automobile designer without a full understand
ing of engines.

Leslie Hart, Human Brain, Human Learning
(New York: Longman, 1985)

Who is the twenty-first-century learner? the kindergarten child hugging a treasured copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar? the teenager signing out six books and a video about the Holocaust? the first-year medical student, piled with materials on human anatomy? the auto mechanic viewing compact discs of variant engine components? the graduate education student writing a thesis on cooperative learning? the senior citizen scanning the Internet for the best travel destination? the twenty-first-century learner is all of these people, for to learn is to continue to “grow dendrites,” or build brain cells. It is what makes us human. Blockages to learning are blockages to the human experience. Learning is not “schooling”; it is not that factory model of institutions churning out product year after year.

Institutions, ingrained and cultural, find “change” hard to come by. Paradigms change over centuries, not overnight. the emerging twenty-firstcentury learner is the learner that successful businesses and corporations demand and describe as the independent, lifelong learner. This learner knows how to construct knowledge from information and ideas—how to interact with it, restructure it, create from it, communicate it, and reflect on it. and this learner, this human being, has a brain that has evolved to encompass these functions. When will our scholarly institutions catch up?

Libraries of all sorts, including those in schools and colleges, have long appeared to be traditional institutions, storehouses of information, and much of that storage primarily consists of printed books. These institutions are and have been wholly democratic—particularly public libraries where anyone can freely borrow materials and have access to great domains of knowledge. Public libraries have experienced subliminal changes . . .

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