The Learning Commons

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Cana­dian School Libraries (CSLis a non-profit orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to pro­fes­sional research and devel­op­ment in the field of the school library learn­ing com­mons in Canada. CSL con­nects school library prac­ti­tion­ers and edu­ca­tors across Canada in the col­lab­o­ra­tive pur­suit of deliv­er­ing exem­plary prac­tices reflec­tive of cur­rent pro­fes­sional school library learn­ing com­mons standards.


The pub­li­ca­tion of Lead­ing Learn­ing: Stan­dards of Prac­tice for School Library Learn­ing Com­mons in Canada 2014, also avail­able in French, pro­vides an excel­lent oppor­tu­nity for school library staff to review their spaces, part­ners, and pro­grams in rela­tion to the new stan­dards and to con­sider how their libraries’ com­mu­ni­ties can be sup­ported now and into the future.

As Lead­ing Learn­ing (2014) states:
“Our increas­ingly net­worked world presents com­plex­i­ties for learn­ing unknown just a few years ago, but at the same time offers fresh oppor­tu­ni­ties. Learn­ing in ever-changing envi­ron­ments demands new ways to edu­cat­ing – a focus on inquiry, cre­ative and crit­i­cal think­ing, mul­ti­ple lit­era­cies, and work­ing together to meet shared goals and knowl­edge build­ing. Evolv­ing learn­ing approaches and def­i­n­i­tions of learn­ing suc­cess are the new real­i­ties, with the con­se­quent need for cre­at­ing inno­v­a­tive learn­ing environments.

Within almost every school in Canada there is a library facil­ity, poised on the cusp of rein­vent­ing itself to address these chal­lenges. This doc­u­ment pro­vides stan­dards to guide the trans­for­ma­tion of school libraries to cre­ate future-oriented hubs of learn­ing, inno­va­tion, and knowl­edge cre­ation” (p. 4).

Some school libraries in Man­i­toba have already devel­oped, or are in the process of devel­op­ing, a learn­ing com­mons. For oth­ers, this con­cept of a learn­ing com­mons may be new. Let’s take a look at where we are now and plan where we will be in the future.

This page was devel­oped to pro­vide Man­i­to­bans ready access to  infor­ma­tion about learn­ing com­mons locally, nation­ally and inter­na­tion­ally. We want be part of the con­ver­sa­tion about the excit­ing activ­i­ties hap­pen­ing in school libraries across the province. Please join the conversation.

Def­i­n­i­tion of Learn­ing Commons:

Learning Commons quote 2 Learning Commons quote

Get­ting Started (must read documents):

Lead­ing Learn­ing: Stan­dards of Prac­tice for School Library Learn­ing Com­mons in Canada 2014

Together for Learn­ing: School Libraries and the Emer­gence of the Learn­ing Com­mons (2010)

From Together for Learning website

From Together for Learn­ing website

Together for Learn­ing was devel­oped by the Ontario School Library Asso­ci­a­tion with fund­ing from the Lit­er­acy and Numer­acy Sec­re­tariat of Ontario’s Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion. The doc­u­ment encour­ages schools to develop col­lab­o­ra­tive learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties in phys­i­cal and vir­tual spaces.

  • Together for Learn­ing pro­vides inspi­ra­tion for schools to develop col­lab­o­ra­tive learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. “A Learn­ing Com­mons is a vibrant, whole-school approach, pre­sent­ing excit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for col­lab­o­ra­tion among teach­ers, teacher-librarians and stu­dents. Within a Learn­ing Com­mons, new rela­tion­ships are formed between learn­ers, new tech­nolo­gies are real­ized and uti­lized, and both stu­dents and edu­ca­tors pre­pare for the future as they learn new ways to learn.” (Together for Learn­ing, p. 3)


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TMC4: Trea­sure Moun­tain Canada 4:

Met in Toronto in 2016 to dis­cuss the Grow­ing Impact of Lead­ing Learn­ing: Stan­dards of Prac­tice for School Library Learn­ing Com­mons in Canada.  Papers and infor­ma­tion from the Sym­po­sium can be found at:

TMC3: Trea­sure Moun­tain Canada 3:

Met in Vic­to­ria in 2014 to dis­cuss the Learn­ing Com­mons and Lead­ing Learn­ing. Papers and infor­ma­tion from the Sym­po­sium can be found at 


Alberta Edu­ca­tion recently issued a Learn­ing Com­mons Pol­icy and Guide­lines state­ment mak­ing Alberta the first province in Canada to put in place a pol­icy rec­og­niz­ing the inte­gral role of the learn­ing com­mons in teach­ing and learn­ing. View the doc­u­ment here:

British Colum­bia

Explor­ing the learn­ing com­mons concept


Trans­form­ing school libraries in Canada: Lead­ing Learn­ing from the learn­ing com­mons by Judith Sykes and Carol Koech­lin in The Medium, Win­ter 2014

Addi­tional articles:

What is a learn­ing com­mons any­way? by Kelly Reier­son and Lissa Davies found on the ASLC blog.

New report hails librar­i­ans as dri­vers of dig­i­tal tran­si­tion by Lau­ren Barack found on the Dig­i­tal Shift blog.


SAGE 2014 video links