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Demonstration: The Learning Commons: Creating and Sustaining a Student-Focused Learning Space (Joe Williams, Janelle Joseph)

  • Background
    • Learning Commons: social, friendly, inviting, support learning
    • Access to resources, images, ideas, inspiration, research support, productivity support (applications, etc), as well as social components
    • Renovation of East Wing
    • Involved students, faculty, staff
  • Floor plan
    • You can see the PowerPoint here
    • Have in “information” desk, which is a little bit confusing… students ask “is this reference?”
    • Presentation room for practicing presentations
    • Different stations for different purposes
    • Group study spaces
    • Same feedback we’re getting: power, spaces, great wireless, etc.
    • Comfortable space
    • Circulation & reserve at one desk in another area (about 40 feet away)
    • This space has taken over the reference area
  • Services
    • Research & computing, device lending, social space & collaborative spaces
      • Even have a few game consoles set up permanently as a break from studying, no complains about noise/distractions
      • Website has real-time PC availability that students can check before coming over
      • Can see some of the devices they loan out on their FAQ sheet (Word doc)
    • Accessible staff (even low, clear information tables (rather than tall, fort-like desks)
      • Signage focuses on words (like “law” or “dictionaries”) rather than call numbers
  • Outreach
    • Week of celebration for opening of new learning commons
    • Student group involvement (multicultural students affairs office, union activities board, international scholars, student services, student organization resource center), went to their meetings to tell them about it
    • Campus partnerships (IT, center for teaching & learning, campus media, campus activities, eBoards)
    • Future events: with groups, maybe gaming, faculty lecture series (sound familiar)
  • Assessment
    • Observations, counts, usage statistics
      • Including hits on website
    • Focus groups, surveys
    • Standing committees
      • University library committee, subgroup of this is specifically for commons (just students), director has student advisory board
    • Web-based options
      • Text box, fill in comments, hit send (right on front page)
      • Discussion board on main commons page
        • Requires university login to create new posts
  • Interesting side effect
    • Business faculty bring students in to study how people use space, etc.
    • Some people teach in the space (not registering for spaces, though)
    • People LOVE roaming dry erase boards
    • Sound dampening furniture, more social space, louder than in previous space, some students shush other students, do query students when it seems like it might be too noisy
    • Staff didn’t need to be sold on this, but there was a need to do some retraining (printing options changed, etc)
    • Can rely on some grad assistants to help with advanced issues
  • Some good photos and student comments in the powerpoint (link above)
  • Funding
    • Bond, donations, Friends of the Library fundraising, library-specific campaign, education & technology fee allocation for computer equipment
    • 9 millions dollars, covered whole floor, includes learning commons, exhibits room, special collections reading room, etc.
    • 3 year refresh cycle for computing equipment
  • Last page of powerpoint shows other resources that are useful
  • Interested in knowing more? Listserv on that page, too
  • Looks similar to Emory, from what folks were saying; will see if I can get over there on the weekend and take some pictures
  • Maybe they’ll put together a bibliography on these topics