Library design, education pedagogy and service delivery #theta2015

‘Let’s be brief(ed)’: Library design, education pedagogy and service delivery (abstract)
Blair Gardiner, Sarah Charing, Karen Kealy, and Naomi Mullumby

Library basement flanked by lecture theatres. Trend at uni is for consolidation – more than one discipline in one building. Faculty were emphatic about keeping the library in the building.

Participatory design. Designers looked at evolution of libraries and at what was going on on-campus – designing building in context. Asked students what they’d want in a new library (power outlets, big tables, task lighting). Got collaboratively space, and compact shelving near study space. Lots of workshops – consistent communication was important. Was good to get facilities recognising librarians know what they’re talking about so involving them heavily.

“Built pedagogy”. Students can learn [architecture] with reference to the library itself.
Windows into lecture theatres. Connectivity between student space and staff space – people can see how each other works.

Audio from architect: research traditionally seen as rarefied part of scholarship, inaccessible. But knowledge increasingly democratised. If accessible to everyone, needs to be curated. Role of library as place of critical debate is becoming central especially in context of design. In architecture there’s no one-to-one relationship between signifier and signified so these ideas in constant flux.

Pedagogical approaches:
Spaces for learning and spaces for research
“Library is a studio space”. Driven by social interactions. Need for collaborative space as well as quiet individual spaces. Student-centred approach. About how students learn within space. [Cf idea from Phil Long that people learn better if learning in different environments: what if we made every study carrell different? Somehow reward people for ‘collecting’ study environments?]

Took some work to put service desk at best place in library – not front-and-centre but off to side. Seeing a staff member is one of many options.

Exhibition spaces to display student work; hope to have student exhibitions too.

Need to do a post-occupancy survey. So far know the partnerships, having librarian engagement with process, etc, were successful.

Q: If you had to change one thing right now what would it be?
A: High-use room is obstructed by a book-case when you walk into library – would take that away so people could see it.

Q: Did you change the lecture space at all?
A: Still traditional lecture theatres. Decided was still needed for large undergrad cohorts. Solidly booked.

Q: Extended hours / 24/7?
A: Some area designed for 24hour access, however campus security restricts access.

A: Decreased collection space, doubled seating.

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