Student-Created Public Library

“It was from my own early experience that I decided there was no use to which money could be applied so productive of good to girls and boys who have good within them and ability and ambition to develop it as the founding of a public library.”

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
Industrialist, Businessman, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

Listening to the ongoing discourse surrounding the future of libraries, I always find myself coming back to one question:  What would Andrew Carnegie want?  Too frequently, in my opinion, the discussion is about the physical space of the library or about print resources or digital.  However, Andrew Carnegie’s vision had more to do with the fundamental idea of access to the wealth of information and knowlege contained in a library for everybody while at the same time strengthening the power of the community that used and surrounded the library.  At this fundamental level, his vision really does stand the test of time.  Carnegie’s vision is alive today and as our libraries continue to take shape, I am excited about another development in this area that, for me, will help achieve that vision even more effectively.  

As I wrote about in a previous blog post, here at New Milford High School, we integrated Paperlet, a new online participatory publishing platform, into our writing instruction.  We had some students write creatively, crafting personal narratives, while others wrote historical essays or narrative nonfiction.  As Paperlet said on their own blog, students discovered new learning capabilities and new modes of information-sharing, much of which is reflected in what they published on the Paperlet platform. Not only did they craft unique and compelling narratives, they also used rich media elements creatively to immerse their audience in the story.  

As a result of our work in this space, Paperlet has just announced that they are rolling out a private network for education.  Our New Milford High School network is the first public library in which the contents are created by the students, for the students. In addition to that, Paperlet is directly aligning themselves to the Common Core State Standards.  

Paperlet’s student library provides:

  • Frameworks to help students and educators use digital media, strategically through the creation of fictional and nn-fictional material (as per the Common Core mandate).
  • Frameworks to help students & educators craft structured fictional and non-fictional publications, for potential distribution across school networks and districts (syndicated learning)
  • Levered uses of social media and private network groups to discuss, evaluate and revise published material, or concepts leading to publication or advanced curricula.
  • The capability, over time, to co-develop progress metrics that benefit students and educators
  • The development of a database that federates knowledge amongst students & educators, and gives them opportunities to improve curricula.

Paperlet also points out on their new education portal that the common core standards call for an in-depth use of technology in education, specifically on how to integrate information from multiple sources and present it in ways that can enhance understanding of findings, reasoning and evidence and to add interest through strategic use of digital media. 

In NMHS, we have shown without doubt that Paperlet’s exciting new platform enables students and educators to achieve that goal!

Anyone interested in adopting the Paperlet platform and setting up their own private school library in which content is created by the students, and for the students, should contact them at marketing[at] to obtain further information.

We love it, and we think you will too.