Ideas Shared IdeaLab

Parish Episcopal School Midway Campus, Dallas, TX
Director of Libraries: Leigh Ann Jones, Ph.D.


After a year of gathering input and planning, the Parish Episcopal School (Dallas) celebrated the opening of its humanities makerspace in the main library. Two years prior to this event, the school created a large Design Den to serve as a makerspace for the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs. This initiated a discussion among the English and history teachers about makerspaces in the humanities areas. They agreed that the library serves as a makerspace for reading, writing, and research.

With this in mind library leadership set out to make the physical library more collaborative, flexible, and conducive to project-based learning, meeting several times with teachers, department chairs, and administrators to gather ideas. This library serves grades 5-12, and the needs of middle school and upper school are very different. On an average day, 60-70 of our 400 upper school students come to the library seeking a quiet place to study or read. The library ultimately created two glassed-in rooms to offer multiple areas that could be used at the same time by more than one group and still maintain the atmosphere of quiet study desired by the students.

The IdeaLab is a classroom-sized glass room with 20 Essay desks with casters to facilitate easy grouping. There is a 70' TV with a docking station, and large areas of writeable white space. The IdeaLab is ideal for mini-lessons, brainstorming, group projects, and presentations. The collaboration area is a smaller glass room with a tech table in a horseshoe design that seats seven people. Four different devices (Mac laptop, PC laptop, iPhone, or iPad, for example) may be hooked to the table for display on the 60" screen. Cables allow easy toggling back and forth between devices. The collaboration area lends itself to small group collaboration, teacher/department retreats, meetings, and presentations. All furniture in the library is on casters, allowing for flexible and collaborative grouping. Three charging bars in various parts of the library give access to easy charging of student devices.

The school community is very happy with the addition of humanities makerspace areas to the existing library. The space contributes to the school’s mission of guiding "...young people to become creative learners and bold leaders prepared to impact our global society."

For more information, contact the school library at 972-852-8818.