Friday, November 06, 2009

Campus Library as Place is Dead?

Earlier this week at the EDUCAUSE conference in a discussion about the future of brick and mortar libraries, the Dean of Libraries from Syracuse was quoted as saying "Let's face it: the library, as place, is dead." As a commons aficionado, this is a rather jarring statement. Our students and faculty are increasingly relying on online collections, but they still need a space to gather and collaborate. As the Director of Libraries at Emory pointed out in the discussion, why did everyone travel to Denver for the conference? Conference content is increasingly available online. But of course, they were there to interact: "to talk, to collaborate, to think, to communicate, to be with one another. Isn’t that what we do in our best libraries?”

That is why I continue to be an avid supporter of the commons concept and the library as place.

Incidentally, a couple of interesting space articles were posted this week:
  • This article from Campus Technology discusses the University of Calgary's Taylor Family Digital Library, considered the most technology advanced student library in Canada. The touch table capability in the facility sounds really interesting (Microsoft Surface maybe?). The article also touches on the "do we still need the library" debate, citing other examples of creative library spaces, so it's worth a look.

  • Jim Jorstad has written this article in University Business about key elements for student learning space design and tips for success: remember the 35% rule, get your seat at the "big table," and so forth. He has done much work in learning space design so this is definitely worth a look as well.

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