Older Library News

Older news for the RCI Library Learning Commons

OLDER NEWS from the RCI Library Learning Commons
(back to newer news)

Please see our Annual Report 2013-2014 


A student's perspective on the updates in the Library:

See the full newspaper here

Our students have superpowers!

Just want to thank and applaud our dedicated students (SWAT team volunteers and more) who assembled the new "projector carts" for the remaining classrooms in the school. Amazing crew! 


Thanks Gabe, Chase, Ken, Irene, David, Phil, Andrew, Kevin & Kevin, Sameer, Jacob, Alex, Joyce, and more! The students put in the equivalent of 15+ work hours to get the carts ready.
Many were involved in this venture: thanks to Mrs. Flatman for organizing the classroom-needs list; Mr. Harvey for supporting and funding the project; Mr. Zambazis for his expertize, cables, locks, ethernet cords, and future troubleshooting; Ms Ferraro & Ms Oldham for coordinating and managing the orders; and all others who have been advocating and problem solving all along.
We're almost there!

 OLA SuperConference #OLASC2014

Every year, a few thousand Ontario librarians converge on the Metro Convention Centre for our annual SuperConference, an intense 4 days of learning. This year, four Riverdale students accompanied us as "expert student forum panel members" to answer questions from 100+ school librarians.
Here's a sample, with Andrew Bradley articulately answering: "Think about how you find information online. What could schools be doing to help you sift through and know what is reliable in the information you find online?"
Students just blow me away every day. http://youtu.be/ShuelIXSUgY

Expeditions in 3D

We have taken the plunge into maker thinking with a 3D printer in the school library, available for anyone in the school. We have started out as an extracurricular club, with two of us staff-advising (thank you Mr. Le!) with the hope that as the students learn and refine the process they will be able to share tips with others. The students' first project has been to learn to design in a 3D digital program (originally SketchUp, but we may also to try TinkerCad, 123D, 3Dtin, and perhaps others) to create architectural scale models of the library furnishings in order to use them with a blueprint as we redesign the space.


It is a steep learning curve, it all still seems very "beta": the software (either for designing or printing) is not wrinkle-free yet, and not intelligent enough to discover (and announce or fix) gaps or geometric consistency errors in our designs that will goof up in the printer, but we have plowed on with new successes bit by bit.

It is super easy to print from a ready-made and tested design (ex. from Thingiverse, and some of our prints on the left), but the real challenge is to design something of your own creation and have it successfully transfer and print.


While it is easy to joke about a pricey machine just to make 25 cent plastic doohickeys, that is of course not the point.
The students are learning to think in 3D, learning new technologies, to design a 3D object in a 2D digital platform, to transform life size objects into proper architectural scale, to be at the forefront working in a medium that will be normal in a couple of years, to be a maker not just a consumer, to solve problems as they come up, to investigate, research, and test solutions, to be patient, to explore, that failure is part of learning, and success is all the sweeter when you've worked hard for it. 

For more, with tips on our trials and tribulations and discoveries, see my blog Love the Learning


Redesign Phase I success!

We are redesigning and refreshing the library to better suit our learners and advance to a 21st C. Learning Commons model for libraries. It has been an exhaustive and exhausting week, and exhilarating to see the new spaces we have to work with. A team of 12 came and analyzed and assessed every single book, then shifted every book at least twice to reorganize and refresh the collection. They were an amazing crew, and went above and beyond to create new spaces for us.

A few results so far:

  • We have our Walden Room back for quiet contemplative study.
  • We've opened up the fiction area for a cozy reading zone.
  • Browzing through the Dewey collection seems more like a bookstore, all of the best books pop out (Indigo watch out!)
  • The Reference collection is now all in one spot.
  • We're setting up a new Manga Zone.
  • We've created "Le monde en francais" for our french collection.
  • And our iHelp Desk is gaining momentum.

For Phase II, we're looking at new ideas to create unique learning areas.

  • Perhaps a "recharging station" for personal devices,
  • or a Laptop Bar to work at,
  • or a Creator Zone for working on projects.

We're still looking for ideas and welcome input!



Nov. 11-14 2013: The Library will be closed for 4 days while TDSB professional librarians from head office come to sort, reorganize, analyse and inventory the whole collection.  We know this will be challenging for students who need to research or print assignments, but we hope this short term pain will entail long term gain. A collection analysis is the first step of our plans. The Library as a Learning Commons will be going through some exciting updates and re-organizing this year to better support the needs of our students in the 21st C.   We have been gathering student and staff ideas, and the Board architect will be helping with floor plans and designs. Our 3D printer team will be creating scale models of the library furnishings to help map out new spaces. We hope to include a Laptop Bar where students can plug in and recharge devices, as well as a creator-space, for projects and assignments. Stay tuned for more updates! 

Creator Space

The 3D team has been busy setting up the new 3D printer, and testing a trial "print". The medallion is about the size of a quarter and took about 15 mns to print. Stay tuned for updates, and when the club will have demonstrations and workshops.


Look what was right outside the library for a number of weeks last year! We have wonderfully creative students @ RCI.

Our Netbooks have taken flight!

We've had several projects and classes coming to work with the teacher-librarians to develop effective use of new tools.

Here are some Drama students in groups and individually finding quiet spots around the library to record their scripts with Audacity:


We've also introduced Wallwisher.com to several classes, and it is spreading across the school!

Riverdale CI TDSB
Lisa J. Dempster