Reimagining Dallas ISD Libraries through Project R.E.A.D.
Dallas ISD Library and Media Services has been working for two years on Project R.E.A.D., and since last spring, there have been almost weekly launches of libraries with schools posting their ribbon cuttings and school celebrations on social media.
Project R.E.A.D. is a library redesign initiative—whose acronym stands for research, exploration, application and design—intended to increase students’ interests in the arts and design, deepen their knowledge of coding, hone their speaking and presentation skills using digital broadcasts, and increase their critical thinking skills through research and collaboration.
Approximately 80 schools were scheduled to undergo this redesign.The project has been in the works for two years with design drafts and campus meetings to finalize the final plans. The grand reopenings began last spring. So far, 55 libraries have been enhanced through Project R.E.A.D., which includes 38 elementary schools and 17 middle schools and high schools. A total of 42,638 students have been impacted by the new library enhancements.
The funds for the redesigns cover new tables and chairs, mobile furniture and shelving, as well as technology for the READ zones, said Patricia Alvarado, director of Library and Media Services.
During a recent ribbon cutting at Barbara Jordan Elementary School, Assistant Principal Kirk Williams praised the amount of modernization and technology—a big change from what libraries used to be. Despite the modernizations, libraries are still performing the same functions supporting student learning, he said.
“You kids deserve the best opportunities, the best school, and the best library,” said Principal Luis Saucedo.
Alvarado agrees that the libraries of 2023 are so much more than just about books and reading.
“You know how you walk into a Starbucks and you see a lot of students there? That’s what we want to do for our students,” Alvarado said.
The younger generations are using libraries more than the previous generations, she said.
“Our school libraries offer access to many premium resources, including popular e-books, research and reference materials for completing assignments, test preparation and access to the Dallas Public Library, which is a portal to even more resources such as Linkedin Learning,” Alvarado said.
Through Project R.E.A.D. students also have access to augmented reality, broadcast zones and green screens, podcast equipment, coding technology and more, Alvarado said. An example of how new library technology supports learning is the ability for students to dissect a frog through augmented reality on an iPad.
For a complete list of schools that have gone through the Project R.E.A.D. redesign initiative, visit this link for more information. To keep up with the Project R.E.A.D. ribbon cuttings, you can follow @ProjectReadDISD on X.