‘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.
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.
Cherie Tautolo and Bernd Martin
Tai tokerau taniwha rau: empowering library patrons to achieve
Te Tai Tokerau campus
Sylvia-Ashton Warner Library (located between railway track and intermediate school, next to high school fields) – primarily supports Faculty of Education (three Education degrees offered), 868 students, over 3/4 extramural. 52% are under 30 years old; 48% percent over. 50% Māori, 50% non-Māori. Presentation focuses on on-campus group.
Need to focus on retention/success especially for equity groups including mature students, those from rural, low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Equity of access in libraries – barriers
Personal, Institutional, Societal (refering to Gorman (2000) p135 – thanks @greengecko29)
Need to think about what we have control over, can improve.
Need a layout that makes ethnic minorities more comfortable. Ghastly painting replaced with tapa cloth. Some may have little experience with libraries/academic libraries. Need to make our purpose and roles clear to patrons. Some patrons have experiences of racism or marginalisation so especially need to be made comfortable. They’ve moved the reference collection to create a more open space. Grouped tables to create discussion area for laptops. Photocopier, laminator, etc in one area. Moving further back in the library gets quieter – self-regulated.
Collection reflects needs of users. Māori readers – project underway to reclassify these (cf RS2 session this afternoon about this). Small reference collection – only core bit left. Short loan collection is open access in same area.
Information literacy workshops – work with student learning people to have tie-in lectures: eg first student learning workshop then library workshop. Try not to be authoritarian, invite input from group where possible to build rapport. Groups can be large, sometimes 20+. Remind that people can come back for followup/one-on-one – helps them to relax if feeling it’s too fast.
Relationships – especially with student but also faculty and support staff. Make the librarians’ role more effective and easier. Personal approach to greeting patrons – learning names – and greeting in Māori when comfortable. Body language especially important! Move away from desk when appropriate. Culturally appropriate acknolwedgement means feeling respected and valued. Taking interest in students as people means better able to serve them. Had a relationship with a student so could ask why they hadn’t seen him – he replied saying everyone seemed to know what they’re doing so he was embarrassed not to. Gave the opportunity to show him around – and 10 minutes later he was showing one of his friends around.
Reciprocity – students aren’t the only beneficiary of relationships. Students gathered outside library one day to sing Happy Birthday to Cherie in English and Māori. Another time presented her with a card to support her in her illness. Received a gift of a kete from a graduating student. Gets offered a ride home when raining. A feed of oysters!
Students feel uncomfortable when lack of Māori students and staff. Need to normalise the presence of Māori students and staff. Eg get classes brought in, student discussion groups.
Silence – some people uncomfortable with silence – feels unwelcoming, cold, formal. Different spaces important – need gathering spaces – noise of discussion can feel more welcoming.
Participation in campus events – because small campus often involved in things that aren’t technically library purview. Reinforces relationships and contributes to campus life. Food plays a big role!
Empowered students achieve.
Q: You have good support from faculty to get library courses embedded – did that take a long time? Course programmes so tight we can’t muscle in.
A: Sometimes have to work on it but mostly they’re good. Mostly the reciprocal thing – goes two ways.
Q: When moving out into campus activities is the library closed? Tension between participating and keeping library open when poorly staff.
A: At powhiri time (before semester starts), everyone’s expected to close and go. Other times would stay open.
The Swiss Army Librarian posts a regular “Reference Question of the Week”. One of the latest covers using file conversion websites to help a desperate patron who needs to print out a file in a format that the library doesn’t support.
Sense and Reference discusses three recent blogposts on libraries getting rid of books to create spaces.
The effect of library instruction on student success
Three C&RL papers:
- The Academic Library Impact on Student Persistence: “a change in the ratio of library professional staff to students predicts a statistically significant positive relationship with both retention and graduation rates.” (Note that they show correlation, not causation; in their discussion they’re inclined to suspect that the effect of more library professional staff is an indirect one.)
- Measuring Association between Library Instruction and Graduation GPA: “if more than one or two library workshops were offered to students within the course of their program, there was a higher tendency of workshop attendance having a positive impact on final GPA. The results indicate that library instruction has a direct correlation with student performance, but only if a certain minimum amount of instruction is provided.”
- Why One-shot Information Literacy Sessions Are Not the Future of Instruction: A Case for Online Credit Courses: “Researchers analyzed the pre- and post-test scores of students who received different types of instruction including a traditional one-shot library session and an online course. Results show that students who participated in the online course demonstrated significant improvement in their test scores compared to the other students. This study shows freshman students’ needs for more comprehensive information literacy instruction.”
- Jenica Rogers names names of vendors with annoying practices. Some vendors responded well; some badly. Jenica posted another followup on Vendors that delight me.
- SCOAP3 is an initiative to set up a consortium that redirects library funds from paying for closed access High Energy Physics journal subscriptions to funding these journals to be made open access. The FAQ goes into more detail about how the model will work.
Not content with publishing fake journals, Elsevier’s marketing division recently decided to “offer $25 Amazon gift cards to anyone who would give a new textbook five stars in a review posted on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.” Upon exposure, it’s now recanted the scheme.
More New Zealand libraries on the social web:
- Lincoln Uni Library on Twitter;
- Otago Uni Library on Twitter and showing their Law Library refurbishments on Flickr;
Christchurch City Library staff on Flickr (with photos of Paul Sutherland’s 50th birthday party).
Photos of libraries to drool over:
- Republic Polytechnic Library, Singapore — lots of space; and
- Hjorring public library, Denmark — a red ribbon theme flows through the whole building; lots of bright colours and cool spaces; self-checkin.
A report from Cambridge University about what students are interested in doing on mobile phones: primarily opening hours, location maps, contact info, and access to the library catalogue.