Sunday, July 20, 2008

Information Commons at Joyner

Mark Sanders has asked to form a task force to study the creation of an information commons or a collaborative learning center in the Joyner Library. This is an exciting prospect; as you all have heard from me repeatedly, I am especially unhappy with the way the first floor of Joyner looks and is organized. Our entrance is cave-like—and many of our public service points are hidden and/or ill-designed. Last December, working with the Facilities Planning folks on campus, we chose an architectural firm to do a space study for the entire library, but so far we have not been successful at getting them on campus—I continue to hope that I will be able to announce any day now that the space planners are on their way. Meanwhile, the Task Force will compile and share information about the design and use of information commons an help us solicit input from students, staff, faculty and the community. Information commons have been around more than a decade, so it is not a new concept, just new to us. I just finished reading Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester and I recommend it as good place to start your reading about information commons and the information needs of our current undergraduate students. One of the most fascinating chapters in the study is “Library Design and Ethnograpy,” which describes how the librarians at Rochester went about engaging the students in design of a proposed research space—it is an experiment that might bear repeating here at Joyner. The study also includes a thought provoking article by Nancy Freid Foster, whose tile is Lead Anthropologist, in which contrasts students and librarians concepts of service: "The Mommy Model of Service." A real eye opener for all of us baby boomer librarians servian millenial students.

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