Archive for category Social Library Issues
Libraries have a special relationship with their buildings. They offer inspiring spaces to read and learn; quiet areas for contemplation and reflection. They offer breakthrough services such as innovation labs, iLabs and learning commons (ex. research inspiring library spaces). So, how do we get more from our library buildings? How do we create better communication plans that translate into new investments?
According to Innovative library services “in the wild”, only 30% of the population know about their local public library. More importantly, another 20% don’t know very much about the value of the library at all. We note that the library’s fortunes are built on communicating and understanding their customer.
When every library patron is viewed as a new customer, big opportunities are possible. During our library planning workshop at Steelcase Worklife in NYC, the group got a chance to dream about the future and visualize real solutions. They talked about the library’s need to transform and improve access. They discussed the need to create a marketing plan to communicate new types of library services.
The workshop provided a foundation for discussion about the library of the future and the needs of the library customer. Let us know what kind of relationship your library has with the public and building space through our survey for academic and public libraries.
At colleges across the county, there are many students and teachers who feel as if they are part of a nomadic tribe rather than being an integrated part of the academic community. Reflecting on the current state of higher education, this is especially true for non-traditional students and adjunct faculty members. Like many other nomadic people, non-traditional students and adjuncts do not have a continual space to call their own and, more often than not, they have to adapt to infertile climates and move on in order to subsist.
We believe it is time for the academic library to embrace non-traditional students and adjunct faculty to support collaborative work. For example, adjunct faculty are increasingly responsible for a majority of courses taught at community colleges in the United States. They teach non-traditional students who also need space to build skills for new jobs and careers. Together these groups represent a growing need for higher learning space.
According to a recent report created by the Center for Community College Student Engagement: “Colleges depend on part-time faculty to educate more than half of their students, yet they do not fully embrace these faculty members. Because of this disconnect, contingency can have consequences that negatively affect student engagement and learning.” Indeed, the academic library provides a space for non-traditional learners, as well as adjunct faculty and researchers who can use these new types of makerspaces for specialty knowledge building.
As a crucial part of sustaining the economic stability of universities across the county, and community college libraries in particular, the nomadic existence that non-traditional students. adjuncts, and many other types of researchers, experience is problematic. We see the big issues with this current system as being primarily two-fold:
- How is this system affecting student learning and retention?
- How is this system affecting expectations and best practice for higher education?
Without space, time and incentive, oftentimes the relationship between non-traditional students and adjunct faculty is highly transactional. One has to ask: Can libraries offer a solution?
- The academic library provides space for knowledge building activities.
- The academic library provides digital access to electronic resources.
- The academic library provides specialist librarians who offer research assistance.
The library can alleviate some of the strain that affects both adjunct faculty and the students that they teach. Whether it is embedded librarianship, research tutorials, directed learning activities or just being a space where students and faculty can meet face-to-face, the library and librarians are helping to shape the relationship between adjunct faculty and the traditional and non-traditional student population for the better.
Librarians have the opportunity to guide patrons on their quest for research information, both online and in the stacks, gradually aligning the responsibility of the learning to the learner themselves. Directed learning activities (DLAs) can help academic libraries engage in active learning support.
Instituted by many college libraries and learning resource centers, students can build their skills through the completion of a series of practice activities. DLAs can be effective in teaching grammar, writing, computer technology, Internet navigation, the possibilities are endless.
In 1968 Malcolm Knowles projected the ancient Greek word “andragogy” into educational discourse, as the art and science of helping students learn. As opposed to pedagogy, andragogy focuses only on the adult learning experience. Terminology aside, in defining a way to reach adult learners educators provide differentiated learning strategies addressing how adults learn in contrast to how children learn.
Using Bloom’s Taxonomy and adult learning strategies, librarians can create a library service program that can both actively engage and promote cooperative learning amongst students. Libraries can help foster lifelong learning DLA’s to adults and assist with community college retention rates and remediation.
Shifting from directed learning strategies, libraries offer other opportunities for self-directed learning (SDL). As a cornerstone of adult learning theory, SDL’s are dominant in the world of e-learning. The development of hybrid and online courses; digital library archives that provide the learner with unique data mining opportunities. Libraries are natural places for self-directed inquiry and learning.
How can these adult learning strategies work toward economic growth?
Self-directed public library spaces can be a useful tool to help small businesses and individuals gain access to information; which in turn contributes to learning opportunities. Libraries provide a useful location for informed collaboration. With endless resources at your fingertips, the library can successfully put theory into practice.
As part of our workshops and ongoing research process, we perform ethnographic analysis. This kind of research is invaluable for developing site-specific strategies because it enables participants to share their views of the interior and exterior of a library. Please take our library outcomes survey on our web site.
During the course of formal (surveys, interviews) and informal (observation) assessment, we look at furnishings, computers, equipment and exterior entrance and flow in/out of the building. Throughout this process we generate quantitative and qualitative data that is used to isolate behavioral patterns that will ultimately enable us to formulate solutions for the library space.
A few years ago, we did a full day workshop at the University of Manchester for CILIP. It was a wonderful event to share knowledge with 25 British Librarians, as we talked about library space planning and learned about best practices. The participants were very interested in new ideas for libraries; they could see the complexity of change and needed some answers. It was a great opportunity to tour the library and learn about the library director’s plans to improve the building. It was obvious the library was a great institution; history seeped out of its pores. However, it needed new tools to manage the complex world of libraries. It needed a new plan.
The Manchester Library recently reopened after an ambitious 50M renovation. The original building created a pleasing atmosphere, but was not a great place to work or study. Below is a picture of the entryway after the renovation.
The issues that were addressed by the Manchester renovation came to mind again when I read about the Boston Public Library recently in the New York Times. According to “Breaking out of the Library Mold, Boston and Beyond” the Boston Public Library is going through a transformation that is noteworthy. The entryway will be re-imagined with an open lounge area, new books and casual seating and retail space. According to Amy Ryan, the library will make physical changes to reflect the evolving nature of libraries.
Leaders need to focus on the library as a destination by developing plans for multiple activities and contexts. They need to understand the characteristics of the library building and services. They need to work on simple, complicated and complex challenges. They need to develop new ideas to accelerate improvements. Our workshops help open up discussions, set up a framework for improvements, stimulate attractors and encourage dissent and diversity of ideas. Our workshops help participants learn about the library, creating opportunities for new ideas to emerge.
Public Library buildings are local destinations that act as catalysts for urban development. They create opportunities to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods, augmenting both the visual and social value of main streets, markets and malls. With economic development in mind, we engage with private developers (of malls, commercial corridors, mixed-use developments); because libraries can provide long term improvements to the tenancy, in turn complementing neighborhood retail. Public libraries fit in a wide mix of public and private sector building projects; they make an impact on economic growth.
The Demand Institute: tale of 2000 cities developed a data set of economic indicators. The web site allows the user to compare their community with other communities, offering a statistical database relating geographic location and home ownership. We believe it reflects the kind of data that will help communities learn about their economic well-being and help build libraries to support healthy learning environments.
The web site started a discussion in the ACA Library Planning Studio. We discussed the idea of the library as an incubator for economic development. Does the Demand Institute give us a working model to help understand what gives value to a community?
Healthy communities can lower the barrier to market entry for small business by rethinking public library space. The computers and Wi-Fi, meeting spaces and cafes provide natural environments for business in the 21st century. The organic quality of cafes acting as business environments was truly exemplified last summer when we visited Milan. When we were touring the Doma, we were told that the Starbucks’s model was made in Milan Italy. It seems like coffee in the morning and in the afternoon are good times to do business.
According to the Howard Schultz, Coffee Bar Enthusiast, “In 1983, while on a buying trip in Milan, Italy, Schultz had an epiphany at one of the many coffee bars. He was struck by the connection people had to coffee, and to the coffee bars which served as a meeting place for people in the community and wanted to replicate the coffee bar at Starbucks stores.”
We believe the public library has evolved to incorporate the Starbuck’s model of a meeting place. Indeed, libraries make cities stronger because they are stable, strong and resilient. They support local and international economies; spaces where communities of practice thrive.
Below is a photo of the National Library of Singapore – Esplanade Library with Cafe.
Our library consultants are focused on the development of the academic library. We believe the academic library is a place for peer and collaborative exchanges. We believe that hybrid and online learning platforms offer a space for embedded librarians to improve student learning outcomes and contribute to the overall instructional efficacy of teachers. We believe that online discussion boards, a staple of assessment for online learning, require libraries and librarians to enhance support, for both students and instructors. We believe that the academic library can enhance graduation rates. Our strategies reflect the need to make libraries and librarians more effective in the struggle to improve student success.
The 2013 Ithaka S+R Library Survey outlines how academic libraries can develop new priorities for the 21st century. For example, the survey states that libraries were more interested in discovery systems in 2010. Today, most library directors are interested in information literacy and strategies to enhance academic support services. The report stated that 2/3’s of library directors are moving toward digital resources; something not surprising. The report stated that funding is the largest problem for academic libraries, requiring justifications for investment(s).
Arne Duncan, U.S. secretary of Education, stated: “Everyone deserves access to high-quality learning opportunities, from preschool to middle school and all the way through college. In order to achieve Pres. Obama’s goal to lead the world in college graduates by 2020, we must work to ensure that everyone has a chance to enroll and complete post secondary education.” As colleges, and community colleges in particular, are the cornerstone of this presidential goal, we have identified the academic library as being an integral part of the process. We believe the best strategy to accomplish these goals is to invest in collaborative spaces with professional and peer learning activities. The library can play a role as a physical space and online by providing embedded librarians to support student success.
According to the American Institute for Research, graduation rates in the United States are not inspiring. Less than one-third of entering community college students and less than one-half of entering four-year college students ever graduate. Dropouts from college impact the economy in terms of lost earnings and taxes to the tune of about $4.5 billion a year.
The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS headline dated November 26, 2011 declared: CUNY Dropout Rate Shows Public Schools Aren’t Preparing Kids. The article went on to state: “Four out of five students attending CUNY community colleges need to remedial class work in math, reading and writing.” Within six years 51% have dropped out and, of the rest, only 28% graduate.
As for the graduation rate at CUNY’S four-year colleges, the following was obtained from their individual websites:
- Brooklyn College – 27%
- Baruch College – 34%
- City College – 30%
- Hunter College – 19%
- Lehman College – 14%
- Queens College – 26%
- York College – 3%.
Granted, many of the students work or have other responsibilities and cannot graduate within four years. For example, the six-year graduation rate at Brooklyn College rises to 48.2% and it is possible that the eight-year graduation rate may rise to over 50%. The numbers are still problematic.
Of course, students’ learning cultures, family backgrounds and socioeconomic levels also affect graduation rates. Remedial programs, tutoring and mentoring do work, however. The data indicates that 27% of community college students utilizing CUNY’s intensive remedial programs graduate in two years while only 7% using their own resources graduate in two years.
We have an idea…and an action plan. We want our academic libraries to become incubators that help to increase graduation rates. Since most information perused by students in our two- and four-year colleges is now digital, space can be freed within these facilities for host of programs including digital tutors, peer support, staff counselors, etc.
To this end we are holding a library planning workshop on May 27, 2014 at the Steelcase Showroom in New York City at Columbus Circle. Please come and join us.
The library of the future is going to be a collection of activities and books. The book technology may change from being clay tablets to e-books. However, learning activities are the core of any library.
When we design new libraries, we look at potential learning activities. We examine the combinations of functions from technology to books to learning spaces. These learning activities may use print journals or computers. The combination of access to intellectual stimulation and space, enabling us to have experiences that enrich our lives.
Charlie Bennett, an academic librarian at Georgia Tech, delivered a poetic Tedx talk. He talked about what libraries offer and the value of thinking in new ways about technology and service. He explored the history of libraries and the factors that lead to the development of learning spaces. If you would like to be inspired, take 10 mins and listen here to the TED TALK LIBRARIAN.
The Open Education Database OEDb is tracking the developments of libraries. Back in March, they developed a blog post entitled – a librarian’s guide to makerspaces – stating “making in the 21st century has moved out of the individual workshop and become networked.”
What is a Makerspace?
According to Eric Ries, “Startup success can be engineered by following the process, which means it can be learned, which means it can be taught.” The concept of libraries and start ups can be part of the process. They can be set up with pre-configured digital and physical assets.
3D printing is a tool for the Makerspace environment, although it is not a requirement. It is a machine that can create 3D objects with a multitude of options for product development and analysis. The MCor Technologies Paper Maker is a break-through innovation in 3D printing. It uses standard office paper rather than costlier materials such as plastic. Its retail cost of approximately 50k dollars in comparison to a low cost plastic 3D printing machine at around $1500.
We are planning to develop a new ecology in the learning environment. It will offer the equipment and tools for communication and presentation, print production, scanning and digitizing in the library. Is the library becoming a MakerSpace?
The process below is a framework to help you think about how makerspaces can be used in the library.
The idea that a library can be an incubator space and a place for innovation is something many librarians and educators share. We believe libraries can be learning hubs. They can be developed with a solid understanding of learning space design and library planning measurements. For example, “U.S. Plans Global Network of Free Online Courses,” the US government is going to develop “learning hubs” or incubator libraries.
For Lila Ibrahim, the president of Coursera, “The learning hubs represent a new stage in the evolution of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, and address two issues: the lack of reliable Internet access in some countries, and the growing conviction that students do better if they can discuss course materials, and meet at least occasionally with a teacher or facilitator.”
Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD developed five different learning modes that will support the development of the Library as an Incubator or Learning Hubs
1. Develop reflective spaces for focused work
2. Create collaborative spaces that can be facilitated – teacher/tutor/mentor/geek squad/librarian
3. Design social interactions with touch-points
4. Develop program, classroom and presentation spaces to run programs.
In collaboration with Georgia Institute of Technology, we held a workshop on the Library as an Incubator on Oct. 26, 2013. The program explored our unique planning methodology. Our host Charlie Bennett provided examples of how to develop innovation spaces and maker spaces. He will be speaking for the TEDX Telfairstreet and Tinker, Teacher, Maker, Space: Two Co-working Experiments in the Academic Library @ LITA 2013.
Our workshop took us on a Visual Scan tour of the library’s collaboration spaces.
Are there better places to learn on campus or in a community? The library can better serve their community by providing new services and re-vamping existing delivery strategies. According to “where do we go from here? Informing Academic Library Staffing through Reference Transaction Analysis,” mobility, power and technology are changing the way students use the reference desk. In 2010, over 62% percent of undergraduate students owned Internet capable handheld devices.
According to PewInternet, 91% of American adults own a cell phone and many use the devices for much more than phone calls. With the rapid adoption of mobile technologies and advances in all digital resources, libraries need to provide answers to questions wherever we are.
Resource rich environments can be enhanced with touch points that help you navigate to what you need. The library can offer tools that enhances the users ability to operate in the digital cloud. For example, a plan to define the path of travel through the library can be both physical and virtual. There is technology that can react to our needs wherever we are.
Academic libraries are starting to use location based QR codes to support real-time learning activities. Plans that allow users to walk into an area with books or periodicals and connect to the libraries e-resources are being considered. Librarians are developing real-time opportunities for physical and virtual collaboration, providing a platform to support Laphams Quarterly’s art of learning.
Laroi Lawton at Cuny Bronx Community College developed a good starting point for reasons why libraries are important. The list provides some of the reasons that students know and indicate that their library is still relevant, in order of importance:
1. convenient hub
5. resource rich
7. relevant collections
8. distraction free
We see the need for libraries continuing into the future. They provide a unique medium based on a long history of programmable space that encourages individuals to succeed. Libraries are places to learn and promote civilized activities. This personal approach towards helping the library user along with their research is the basis of our culture.
There are a wide variety of new mobile technologies and apps that are changing the way people use information. It is time to accept the handheld librarian as the norm and add them to the art of knowing….Join Us at our workshop on Oct 26th at the Georgia Institute of Technology