The Duston School. Photo: Demco Interiors

The article quotes Carolyn Shaw, learning commons leader at the Dixons Allerton Academy in Bradford, which recently won the School Library Association Inspiration Award: “We have a big drive on books and reading for pleasure but we see ourselves very much as being the hub of learning in the school.”

The flexible use of space follows the learning commons model of higher education. "Only three pieces of equipment in the library are fixed, and these are for searching the catalogue. All other computers are laptops, with seating and tables equally moveable to allow the space to be used for exhibitions of pupils’ work or curriculum-linked displays, debates, presentations and even a jazz band."

Flexibility, interaction, discovery are all components of a more innovative use of libraries as learning spaces, explored here with a number of examples from both primary and secondary schools. The feature provides a link to a gallery of new and recent library interiors, making it a very useful survey of current school library design practice.