• Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

    Improve the Library, Improve the Community

    Libraries have long been the heart of the communities they serve.  Eric Klinenberg is a pioneer promoting such social infrastructure as a way to improve lives. As author of Palaces for the People, he has come to the same conclusion that we have in our 47-year history planning libraries: if you build new libraries, communities grow and thrive.

    Sometimes it seems impossible to get support for the local library; funds are often tight, and people have a negative view of the space, creating a vicious cycle. Restricted library funding can have real consequences, including underdeveloped children’s and teen services. This in turn affects the youths’ ability to network, thrive in their community and grow into well-rounded individuals. Kids may just “hang out” in the street or get chased away from public areas like stores or parks. Eric Klinenberg analyzes this problem and offers examples of the public library as a solution. The library offers kids a “third place” and a shared home away from home. This reduces their isolation and improves the community.

    Part of providing this social infrastructure is designing spaces that allow for various activities: quiet work, social interaction and so on. Aaron Cohen Associates’ Five Modes of Learning Workshops provide a platform to analyze how people use library spaces and how they may be improved to support more activities. It offers guidance on how to distribute the library functions in a manageable pattern, using behavior as an underlying guide for the design.

    To determine where the behavioral modes fit into the library, we use a hands-on method called the Visual Scan. Together the five modes of learning and Visual Scan enables our team to create innovations including more group study spaces and flexible, collaborative areas.

    Tomorrow, November 30th, we will host a workshop in NYC at Steelcase. We will examine how we can redefine the library experience. Join us! – CLICK HERE –

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    How Libraries and Learning Theory are Put into Practice

    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.

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  • Social Library Issues,  Space Planning

    Makerspaces in the Library

    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.