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Bryant elementary librarian turns quiet library into hands-on learning hub

A Bryant school librarian is changing a child’s idea of a trip to the library.

BRYANT, Ark. — A Bryant school librarian is changing a child’s idea of a trip to the library.

"It's my passion for me to make the library a place they want to come,” said Chrystal Burkes, Parkway Elementary librarian.

For so long students say they didn’t enjoy going to the library. 

"To be honest, it was boring,” said 5th grader Shona Bhowmick. “We would get a book, read it, and then repeat, repeat, repeat.”

Burks is changing that. She’s transformed her library into a learning hub.

"It's so much more than just coming, checking out a book, leaving, then reading the book,” she said. “Now, they learn those technology skills, critical thinking, computer science and makers space."

The evolving times are now giving students like Shona something to look forward to.

"It's always a surprise, and it's not just uniform,” she said. “I can read and learn now while having fun.”

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Shona said the latest library learning techniques have introduced her to topics well beyond what she imagined learning, like engineering, poetry, and critical thinking.

"I really like creative thinking and the library has really brought that out in me."
Thursday Shona showed us one of many learning techniques she’s been practicing. She introduced us to the merge cube used with a virtual 3-D headset.

"The merge cube is that through virtual reality, they are learning and reading non-fiction facts that we have some printed in our books but when it's on our virtual reality headset they are engaged, reading and learning,” said Burkes.

It’s knowledge each student can apply towards their future well beyond the classroom.

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“The needs of our students are changing, they are entering a work field where technology, engineering, critical thinking is so important,” said Burkes.
Burks has many other cool learning ideas up her sleeve.

Student's learn responsibility by checking in and out their own books.
They create projects, learn research skills all while doing it in a fun, creative setting.