Welcome to our first issue of Library 2.0―we’re looking forward to using this platform to share updates on the building projects and general news about the future of academic libraries.
I recently returned from American Library Association Midwinter conference and visited a number of exhibits related to library furnishing and equipment. Visiting the exhibits and talking to vendors and fellow librarians across the country, it is clear that today’s academic libraries are focused on FLEXIBILITY and SERVICE. As student learning and working styles continually change, our libraries must adapt quickly to student needs. Spaces are changeable; furniture (including service desks) is increasingly mobile (all designed on casters) and extensible. Services are infused throughout buildings and are increasingly diverse (including technology assistance, writing consultations, tutoring as well as traditional library research and instruction).
The library we’re designing fits these trends well. Two of our five floors have open floor plans for both current students to configure spaces and areas to meet their individual and collective needs and for future staff to re-conceive spaces as learning needs evolve. Our spaces can also easily adjust from individual to group―in addition to designated seminar and group collaboration rooms, many of our furnishings offer opportunities for spontaneous group work. We will also have a flexible “innovation lab” that will be equipped with new hardware and software―virtual reality goggles/consoles, 3-D printing, etc., that will allow students and faculty to experiment and familiarize themselves with new technologies.
We’ve recently merged with the Achievement and Learning Center and will be offering writing consultations and tutoring services as well as workshops on a variety of learning skills and technology topics. Library faculty and staff will be located to assist students throughout the building. As we mention in the feature article here, it’s not just about the books (or journals or computers or study rooms), it’s about the people―their expertise and service!
We know that the libraries of 2028 and 2038 will be vastly different from the library we open in 2018, and we believe we have designed a building that can easily adapt to each new generation of student.