Reimagining the Academic Library: A Peek Inside Payson Library
Daniel Fusch https://www.academicimpressions.com/reimagining-the-academic-library-a-peek-inside-payson-library/
three drivers for the renovation:
- We needed to create more study, learning, and research space in the library. Put simply, our library space was cramped. It was a nice-looking building but not terribly “user-friendly.”
- Additionally, the building itself was one of the oldest on campus…
- Finally, we wanted to create a more visionary learning space. We wanted to define what impactful spaces for our students would be, and examine how the academic library can support both emerging academic trends and social formation on campus.
We’ve created “living rooms” in the library: spaces with couches, softer seating, fireplaces—where students can go and plop down. That “plopping down” is important. The library has become a place where students go with some intentionality to rest, to check their phone, to read.
We’ve tried to create interesting “spots.” We have nicely appointed, contemporary-in-feel study spaces, with glass whiteboards and glassed walls. People can see in, people can see out; today’s students like to be seen, and they like to see in. This was very important in our focus groups. Also, on a practical level, students like to be able to see into study spaces to see if they’re occupied.
Special Collections used to be intimidating for a first or second-year student. We wanted an experience in which from the moment the student arrives, there are no barriers to exploration. We wanted to send the message that this is a place for inquiry and discovery, a place to learn more. There are no doors—just an open entrance to the wing.
the key with the Great Books Room is that it is glassed. Students can look in and see others deliberating about great books around an oval table, or participating in mentor-led discussions. And they see that this is a part of the experience they can have at college.
more on academic library in this IMS blog