Angela Rosheim isn’t your grandmother’s school librarian. True, she loves literature and connecting kids with good books, but the Kansas City, Missouri–area media specialist also transformed her library space into a learning hub for students to create Genius Hour projects. Soon, Rosheim’s students were clamoring for materials like robotics gear to make their projects. Through grant money and fund-raisers, Rosheim gathered the supplies and created a maker space. In it, students tinker and build, and learn valuable lessons along the way.

The Basics

School: Lewis and Clark Elementary School, Liberty, Missouri

Career path: Rosheim began her career as a first-grade teacher. She went back to college to pursue a master’s degree in library science and has been in the school library ever since.

Teaching Philosophy: “My role is to be a guide, scaffolding what [students] need to know to get to
their final goal.

Quotable Quote: ”We don’t always give kids the chance to fail. They’re always pushing for that A, but when you fail, you’re learning so much. If you’re failing forward, eventually you’re going to find success.”

Cool Project: Build it and they will make it!
Rosheim’s maker space is filled with low-tech items, such as cardboard and Legos, as well as high-tech gadgets like video-production equipment. Sometimes student interests drive the maker projects, other times Rosheim issues a specific challenge. Students have created everything from catapults and fashion designs to circuitry and stop-motion animation.

Students work through the following project phases: gaining background information, forming a question, researching, refining, designing, creating, sharing, and reflecting. “Reflection is huge to the maker mind-set,” Rosheim says. “Kids need to evaluate what worked, what didn’t, what skills they learned and still need to learn, and what they would do differently the next time.”

What's the role of school libraries in the 21st century?
“When I began, it was checking books in and out. Now, instead of taking information in, it’s producing. There’s more technology, and as librarians, we have to stay up to date. We have to allow kids to figure out how things work and how [technology] will work for them.”

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Photo: Courtesy of Angela Rosheim