Designing future blended libraries – LIANZA 2023

Patricia Velasquez
Libraries have redesigned/innovated a lot to meet user needs.
Looked at concepts of physical space; digital space; blended space. Benyon 2012 described blended space – eg in the library context:

  • ontology – the objects users can use
  • topology – how the objects complement each other
  • volatility – how flexible is the face
  • agency – the people in the library space

Cunningham&Tabur 2012 described learning space attributes analogously to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

  • comfort and image <- apex
  • sociabiity
  • uses and activities
  • access and linkages <- base

Research to help libraries understand experience of users. Did document analysis, individual interviews, observation, focus group discussions.
Students’ challenges:

  • wifi strength, consistency – especially with online classes
  • library promotion – may not find out about library services until near graduation!
  • signage – either not enough or too much
  • lack of self-service guide
  • lack of BYOD support, power points
  • inconsistent policies etc

Students’ preferences

  • flexibility eg table height, opening windows
  • self-service – want to be able do it themselves — but otoh
  • human interaction. (Different groups have different preferences! We need to be careful when we make changes…)
  • variety of resources – print, electronic, etc
  • ease of use
  • availability (and accessibility)

Talking with them: students see the physical space as a transient space where people come and go. See library as a repository of knowledge where it can be found/access and learning happens. Haptic experience – want to be close to books, smell them – this is motivating.
They talk about the digital space – importance of online browsing and searching (but need to think about ease of use). Personalisation stil relevant. Want user-friendly technologies.
They want increased use of physical and digital elements of the library. Improve BYOD support. Have identified the disconnect between physical and digital elements – eg look for a book online but when they come to campus and can’t find it.
Students use the library (collection, building, services) if they perceive it to be helpful). We need to make the transition between physical and digital more seamless.

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