My Libraries Learning Spaces, “Caves, Campfires and Watering Holes”.

The following photos are some of the Learning spaces I have created or taken advantage of in our Library.

The campfire, is a space where people gather to learn from an expert.  It can be used for teacher to student and more importantly for peer to peer instruction.


I’ve created this in the multipurpose room to the side of the main library.

It is a very versatile room and I encourage teachers to move the furniture around to suit the purpose of their lessons.

The watering hole is a space for shared culture.  It is an informal area, where students can share in collaborative learning experiences.

This is a great space, were the seating is arranged in a semicircle. It lends itself to a watering hole or just as easily a campfire purpose.  It has been used for story time when the teacher or librarian sits in the middle in the ‘Story Chair’ and reads to the group.  We have a mobile white board that can be wheeled out and placed in the mouth of the semicircle for instruction, turning our ‘watering hole’ into a ‘campfire’.  In this photo it is being used as a ‘watering hole’, giving the students the time to discuss their books with each other and the teacher.




Here the multipurpose room has been rearranged into a watering hole set up for a group discussion.



The cave is a private space, where students can find that much needed alone time useful for reflection on their learning or just to recharge.


I’ve used the browsing boxes to create a close in space that acts as a cave.  The children seem to be attracted to it and would rather sit on the cushions than the seating around the sides.


This is the foyer of the library and it is often used by older secondary students.


The bean bag area is my silent reading corner and is located behind the screens in the multipurpose room. Again this area is used by the older students.  During lunchtimes on days when the junior students have the library to themselves they often drag the bean bags out into the main library and create their own spaces.


I have plans to develope a listening post just in front of this ‘cave’ bean bag area.

These last three photos are of the lunchtime crowd on a junior day.  It is not a quiet library during lunch! 🙂   In the next couple of weeks I will be  setting up ‘maker stations’ for some Christmas Craft activities during the lunch breaks.


computer-bank1  library-lunchtime-3 library-lunchtime-5

2 thoughts on “My Libraries Learning Spaces, “Caves, Campfires and Watering Holes”.

  1. Hi Alsion, your metaphors of the watering hole, and especially, the campfire and the cave really work for me; we have the problem in secondary of making sure we can see the students because they can think of all sorts of things to do other than reading, if they can find a private space…. nevertheless, they are attracted to the one corner of the library where there is some shelter from the bookshelves (cave). We had a single beanbag in learning support a few years ago, and it became a highly-prized reward for many very oppositional boys. Sitting low to the ground, or on the ground in groups, is so different to the usual classroom seating arrangement – I’m just thinking this is an interesting area of behaviour management and student engagement at look at in terms of design. I’ll let you know what I find. Thanks for sharing your photos.


    • Hi Helen,
      This is a very late reply, but I was just reading through some old posts of mine and came across your reply. To begin I am Alexandra Rummenie not Alison Zylstra. I find the design of library and learning spaces very interesting in that they have a surprisingly significant impact on student engagement. I would be interested in hearing about the effect of your changes to your library space.


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