Posts Tagged academic library plan

Nomads of the Academic Library

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.

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Ceci n’est pas un Livre (this is not a book)

“The manner in which human sense perception is organized, the medium in which it is accomplished, is determined not only by nature but by historical circumstances as well” Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin wrote The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction in 1936. The rapid shift toward dynamic, industrialized modernity created a pervasive anxiety among artists and art lovers.  Could art be replaced by machines?  New photographic technology became the catalyst, carrying  fears surrounding visual art and, to some extent, perceptions of reality in of itself. Arguing that, in order for it to remain relevant, there needed to be a shift in how to understand art in a modern context. The themes of authenticity, tradition, ritual, value, mass production and proliferation of art are woven throughout the essay.

woman_readingIt is not surprising that similar conversations are occurring now surrounding the migration of the library’s print collections to digital platforms. Incorporating technology, “the machine,” into the library space is often viewed as being disruptive, inauthentic and contrary to the original intention of the 20th century library.

We are finding that these same themes brought forth by Benjamin in 1936 are entering our research process. How do we manage traditions and ritualistic expectations of library patrons? What is the value of the digital library? How do we connect technology with existing collections?

There remains a great deal of work for librarians to transform and create a new narrative for the printed book.  The historical context of the 21st century requires libraries to be creative, expanding on the idea of Ceci n’est pas un Livre . The bookwall is a design example that the library can use to highlight the idea of learning in the library.  

The overarching question remains: What type of machines do we allow into the Garden of Eden? Tell us what you think.

Please take our Academic Library Survey

Please take our Public Library Survey

We will be releasing data about the survey at our workshop “make the library an incubator for learning” on June, 5, 2014 @ Steelcase Worklife NYC

 

Image: René Magritte – La Lectrice soumise (1928)

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Learning About How Libraries Are Changing

It is normal for the community to question whether a library needs to grow, move or be reduced in size.  Libraries are transforming from print spaces into learning spaces.  The challenge is to build on the strengths of the library as a tool for learning and research support.  There are two areas where librarians are making a big impact:

1.  Embedded Librarianship
2.  Information Literacy

Embedded Librarianship is the integration of knowledge resources (people and online services) within a research program.

Information Literacy is locating research (general and specific) and making it available to the library’s community.

Both strategic service areas enable the library community to thrive and grow.

We are researching how libraries are transforming their environments to support their communities.  We want to learn how to make libraries reflective spaces, collaborative and social gathering centers of knowledge.

Please take our Library Planning Outcomes Survey:

Have you completed a building renovation in the last 10 years? We would really like to hear about the outcomes.

Take the Public Library Outcomes Survey

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Library Planning, E-Book Reader, Sales Predicted to Increase

From a library planning and development perspective, the statistics in this article will be of great significance to the development of library buildings in five years. The library built in today’s world will have to adapt to the e-reader. However, other formats will exist. It is the library collection that will be unique to the knowledge hunters of tomorrow. It is the contents of the physical + virtual library that will be a gathering place for learning and education. It is the librarians that are curators of the collection regardless of the format.

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