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

Collaboration with Shain Library (Connecticut College)
Juniors and seniors may obtain a card at Connecticut College's Shain Library which enables them to borrow print books from the college. The cards are free and are valid for one year. To obtain a Shain Library card, students must check in with Mrs. Le May to arrange a preliminary visit; their Williams Learning Commons accounts must be in good standing as well (no lost, missing, damaged, or grossly overdue books). Additionally, classroom teachers can arrange for special research and training sessions at the Shain library via Mrs. Le May.


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  • Fiction (Print)

    The Williams fiction collection is currently divided into two sections:
    1. General fiction, both new and classic
    2. Graphic novels
  • Nonfiction (Print)

    While many nonfiction and reference sources are now found via our online resources, we feel that the traditional book is still a well-organized and succinct information delivery system, particularly for students exploring a topic for the first time. We continually assess the collection for outdated books (particularly in the social, natural and applied sciences), and replace them with quality nonfiction titles that are directly tied to our curricula.
  • Special Collections: Antique Titles

    In the glass-fronted Sandusky cabinets we have a collection of antique titles, most of which were published before 1920.
  • Special Collections: The Williams Collection

    The Williams Collection consists of books written by and/or about Williams School alumni and family.

Our Information Collections

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  • ABC-CLIO History Databases

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


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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.