Library; what should be…

Amidst discussions at LRS and forthcoming strategic planning –

The LinkedIn Higher Education Teaching and Learning group has a discussion started:

“The library as space is becoming more important, even as students are able to log on to databases from wherever.”

based on the the article

Spikes, Stacks, and Spaces

from Inside Higher Ed blog:

  • Julie Steward

    Julie Steward

    Instructional Designer

    University libraries are increasingly the ONLY place on campus that has quiet spaces, since cell-phone conversations are ubiquitous. I think a professional shushher would be a nice touch to any library. Either that, or zero-talking floors and okay-with-some-noise-floors alternating.

  • Andrea KiralyAndrea

    Andrea Kiraly

    Information Specialist, Visiting Lecturer at University of Szeged

    Today university/academic libraries have “all-inclusive services” and they are places for social life, too. In my point of view it is very important for libraries to be always ready for changes, to be regenerative, and to find new ways including the needs of next (Y, Z?) generation. A library is a third place, “a place to be”. And study. With librarians behind the scenes.

    Russ B. likes this

  • Russ BarclayRuss

    Russ Barclay

    Visiting Professor at Campbellsville University

    I note many university libraries have become bistros complete with internet access and quiet rooms for students and student teams to meet and work.

    …And, of course, there are books and databases. Whether students attend to those assets is an open question for me.

  • Sharon BlantonSharon

    Sharon Blanton

    Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Hawaii Pacific University

    I had the opportunity to spend some time in a local high school library yesterday. It was a hub of activity with a class in session, students browsing stacks, small group activities, and numerous meetings. I thought it was great to see so many students collaborating and having fun. The students were very engaged.

    Stephen L. likes this

  • Laura GabigerLaura

    Laura Gabiger

    Professor at Johnson & Wales University

    Top Contributor

    It seems important that Matt Reed mentions both the group study areas and the individual quiet spaces in a library. In the past, university libraries tended to be places for individual quiet work. But as Russ and Sharon mention, students have meetings in libraries to work on group activities. If we pay attention to developments in higher education, student work will be increasingly collaborative rather than individual, interdisciplinary rather than narrowly focused in one disciplinary area. In the USA we can find these values set forth in places such as the AAC&U list of high-impact practices, where collaborative assignments and projects are recommended:

    Some experts recommend that the most valuable things students can learn to do is work on problem-solving with other people who come from diverse backgrounds.

    Libraries may need less space for stacks as printed books and periodicals are replaced with digital storage, but the need for meeting rooms and collaborative study areas may increase. And of course a coffee shop on the premises definitely helps.

    Stephen L. likes this

  • Dr..Myrna FernandoDr..Myrna

    Dr..Myrna Fernando

    Professor 1 at Technological University of the Philippines

    What is the bearing of a library as a Learning Resource Center if not significant to the students. I think it speaks so much on the learning impact not only by the students together with the faculty. This is also the reason why the area of Library is included in institutional/programs accreditation.

1 Comment on Library; what should be…

  1. Plamen Miltenoff
    September 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm (4 years ago)

    From: Ewing, M Keith
    Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 9:21 AM
    To: Miltenoff, Plamen
    Subject: RE: what the library should be

    The article and resulting discussion seems to focus on small campuses—community colleges and high schools. How do larger libraries respond?

    We designed the Miller Center with the intent to reduce the footprint of collections and maximize user spaces, to bring the outside in as much as possible given the climate (and MnSCU building constraints—e.g., no skylights, no courtyards). We envisioned the “library” as a “space for people” more than a “space for books.” The placement of Miller Center has some distinct disadvantages that were recognized prior to construction: it’s on the edge of campus and far from some academic spaces; moving the bus stop to the front of MC helped put it more in student consciousness. We could free up more floorspace (the entire collection will fit on the available compact shelving—tightly; and if the basement compact shelving was complete, there would be sufficient space for growth), but what would be included? Do we compete with Atwood with lounge and recreation space (games and gaming), with the Rec Ctr with exercise space (treadmills with network desktops)? How do we tie those spaces and related services to the academic mission? (I believe in a holistic liberal education: including arts and sciences, body, mind, and spirit.) Given the budget outlook, how are they sustained?

    Subsequent library buildings, such as new ones at NC State, U Denver, and Goucher, represent new ways of thinking about library spaces that are interesting and provocative without diminishing the central mission of the library. Some new facilities incorporate library spaces, particularly group and individual study spaces as well as makerspaces (broadly defined) under the library (or within the student union), into other academic buildings across campus—the benefit of online access to resources and services is that facilities can be distributed. The options are numerous and limited only by the culture of the campus and the creativity of its actors, but should be developed in coordination with the students (their active participation) and with a focus on the institutional mission.

    I don’t feel you short survey will elicit much information of value (there is a strong sense that survey fatigue is a campus reality). A better approach would be to implement an ethnographic study similar to what was done at Fresno State several years ago (see I approached some Anthropology faculty on campus about the possibility of doing this several years ago, but their “field” class is conducted in the summer, which is not optimal for library use, and it would be difficult for them to provide the support necessary during the Fall and Spring semesters.



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