Posts Tagged research commons

6 ways to improve your learning environment: NYC Workshop, Nov 3

In preparation for our Smart Library Workshop (November 3, 2016, 9:30 am-4 pm), we outlined six steps toward improving your library & learning environment. Many libraries and learning spaces require new space/service requirements, as today’s patrons use both print and digital resources. Enabling the learning space to be flexible – so light, air and vista permeates the whole space with a sense of unity is possible with the right methodology. Below, six simple ways to make change happen:

1. Have a dialogue with stakeholders about the library/learning space. Allowing all parties to “have a say” is a vital part of this process. We utilize data-gathering exercises that allow input into the process. We also employ the Visual Scan, a facilitated tour, to understand user needs and staff perspective.

2. Create a communication plan. No longer a “nice to have” amenity, such a plan enables staff to develop policies essential to improve reference / customer service requirements.

3. Develop a library building program that will detail learning spaces, partners and services. Libraries should inspire partnerships, programs, events; how do we create collaboration space?  The building program should outline existing services as well as potential new library services and space options.

4. Visualize the physical learning space. Physical constraints are always a long-term challenge. Successful organizations often find themselves “squeezed” when demand outweighs space. Visualizing preservation, conservation and technical services office space differently to harmonize all necessary openings with good human proportions is required. Hire a library consultant and architect to ensure that physical constraints are documented and analyzed.

5. Consider design scenarios for long-term success. Changes to library/learning spaces can be expensive, depending on the solution. Often, a challenge to the library’s existing services can lead to an inexpensive solution. We work with stakeholders to do re-envisioning exercises that help them understand what the library/learning space has to offer and what might be changed.

6. Build consensus with help from professionals who are experienced in library design. Recommendations are most effective when all stakeholders contribute to the master plan. Staff members need to understand the logic of the plan, efficiencies gained and future-oriented thinking involved. The staff need to own the implementation plan; they need a role developing strategies to improve the outcome.

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As Search Goes Mobile, Apps Change the Way We Use the Library

A couple of months ago, it seamed like all of the library information systems – ILS vendors were developing apps. The business of finding information had gone mobile; everyone was trying to develop a way to reach their customer more effectively. The New York Times article “As Search Goes Mobile, Apps Chip at Google’s Lead” discussed how searching for information is mobile. It states that Google is under pressure to change, because the behavior of searching for information is changing.

Entering the library to find answers is going to be a lot more mobile for users. The mobile user will search for information in different types of environments. Shar VanBoskirk stated “there is a lot of pressure on search engines to delivery more customize, more relevant results. Users don’t need links to web pages. We need answers, solutions, whatever intel we were searching for.”

We like to visualize and think about Apps as virtual “touch points” for content; providing new opportunities to find information. The mobile App can be combined with a physical “touch point” in and around a campus or in a community library.

A synergy of positive feedback can be created in the library to enhance learning activities. Libraries act as connectors for social and public spaces. They can be flexible “research commons” – places with an enhanced wireless network, lighting controls, heating and cooling and flexible furniture.

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