Learning Commons

The Learning Commons exists to support the school and prepare our students for college and a lifetime of learning by providing free and open access to a variety of credible print and digital resources, and thereby assist them as they grow intellectually, culturally, and ethically. 

The Learning Commons is a multidisciplinary literacy center, a space for research and instruction, and a center for technology and digital citizenship. To foster and facilitate the connection of ideas across disciplines and to explore knowledge outside of existing departmental silos, the Learning Commons will provide resources both to extend and support work in the classroom and to pursue individual interests and passions in privacy and safety.

The design of the Learning Commons includes an open teaching area, a computer lab, and an area for research and collaborative group work. In addition, the Learning Commons is home to a hands-on tinker space for students, which includes our 3D printer and portable maker cart.

Williams School Learning Commons Vision
The Learning Commons will help to shape our students to become critical and creative thinkers, discerning consumers and ethical agents of information, and increasingly active members in our vibrant and changing society.

Williams School Learning Commons Goals
• To select, purchase, and provide resources, both print and digital, in support of the school's curricula and to provide for the leisure reading interests of students
• To provide supplemental materials and support for teachers to plan, implement, maintain, and adjust their curricula (including training and assistance in new technologies as they arise)
• To plan and implement, in concert with classroom teachers, a comprehensive program (for grades 6-12) to teach and reinforce the skills needed to thoughtfully and discerningly access information in all formats, and to choose the most appropriate format(s) for each academic task
• To assist teachers and students in the appropriate citation of research resources
• To encourage and inspire students to read for leisure, through displays, personal recommendations, book talks, and social media outreach as appropriate
• To readily and cheerfully assist and support students in their research and reading endeavors


LibGuides to the Rescue!

LibGuides is your central resource for starting your research journey. Your specific class assignment, along with recommended websites, books in the Williams School collection, links to NoodleTools and associated training videos -- everything you need to get started on an authoritative research project awaits you.


NoodleTools is your tool for organizing your research materials. Write virtual note cards, create an outline, produce correctly formatted works cited, create To Do lists, etc. If you do not know the login and password for creating a new account, see the librarian or ask your teacher.

Our information collections

ResearchIT-CT Databases (formerly iConn)

researchIT-CT Databases (formerly iConn)

Access research materials for free. Print magazine and journal articles, e-book chapters, reference sources and more.  To log in from home use your Connecticut public library card number OR -- click here, which will allow you to use your usual Williams School login info.

Student Resources in Context

Student Resources in Context
Our subscription to an excellent collection of nonfiction ebooks (which also appear in our Alexandria catalog) as well as articles from periodicals, primary sources, multimedia and more! A perfect compliment to the researchIT-CT resources - be sure you check them both!  You can also download a super easy-to-use app ("Access My Library" for your Mac and Android mobile devices! (link for Mac) (link for Android)

ABC-CLIO History Databases

ABC-CLIO History Databases
Access reading assignments and research materials for your history class, as well as for research projects.

Sirs Researcher (Issues)

SIRS Researcher (Issues)
This award-winning database presents information on more than 300 social and scientific issues. One of its most helpful features is its easy-to-use pro/con format. From the publisher: "Thousands of highly targeted documents, primary source documents, websites, and multimedia (including 13,000+ research-quality images) represent viewpoints from the pros and the cons, to everything in-between." (Note: you'll need the "alternate" password for home access).

Looking specifically for eBooks?

Books for eReaders

Books for eReaders (fiction and nonfiction formatted for e-reader devices)

Looking specifically for material to read on your Kindle or iBook? Our subscription to BrainHive gives you access to a selection of nonfiction and fiction titles for temporary loan on your device. (Note: requires a login and password -  see Mrs. Ansel to get set up)

Nonfiction eBooks via researchIT CT

researchIT CT has collections of eBooks and documents arranged by grade level - here are direct links to the middle and high school collections.

Reference and Nonfiction books via Gale Virtual Reference Library

Search for eBook content available to use via our Gale holdings:

Need to search the Williams School Library for books? Click here to access our catalog, Alexandria.  (Remember, in addition to print resources, our collection of Gale reference e-books and Research-IT CT-provided e-books also show up here.)






Accessing our databases FROM HOME? Click on the image below to be able to use your Williams password(s)

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