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Good news for someone who checked out of her hotel and decided to drive into town this morning: street parking is available at 7:30 am on a Sunday and is free all day. My commute went from over an hour to 15 minutes this morning. A much more relaxed way to get an early start.

I decided to branch out from my usual comfort zone presentation and attended a session titled: “Why does my building project need an interior designer?” sponsored by LAMA. It was a panel discussion that included an architect, interior designer (not to be confused with an interior decorator), and two librarians – Donna Morris from the Oklahoma City Library system and Sarah Michalak, University Librarian and Associate Provost at UNC Chapel Hill.

Since our Environmental Scan effort and the Blue Sky group’s building recommendation, “Library as Place” has caught my attention. Renovation and building is an area that I don’t know a lot about, but that I find very intriguing. The session was a lively discussion of what interior design professionals can bring to a major project, from helping with the initial “building project document”, to analyzing client needs and goals, formulating conceptual design and design development, acting as the client’s agent for contract administration, the list went on and on.

The point that was really hammered is that it is very important to have someone who is a professional designer in on the project from the very beginning and that not all architectual firms have a design department. For a big project, you want this type of expertise as early as when the preliminary schematics are created, including preliminary furniture placement proposals for the purpose of planning lighting, electricity and other space use needs (was there a designer when the atrium and Wilson Wing were built?).

Now, back to my comfort zone, I’m heading to a session on Sakai collaborative open source software!