Back to sessions after about 3 hours of eating, meeting with vendors and presenters, and sitting through mini presentations. More about that later.
The final session of the day involves a pinch hitter who is fitting in a presentation that was for some reason cancelled. The presentation is titled Creating Flexible, Technology-Enhanced Collaboration and Learning Spaces presented by Ronald Danielson, the vice provost for information services and Chief Information Officer for Santa Clara University.
This presentation is on a two-year process in developing an effective learning space. Santa Clara University is a private university located in Silicon Valley.
Three buildings involved in his story: the library, aka learning commons; business school building; and a renovated building.
Students want flexibility and comfort in their library this includes modifying the space to meet their needs. They also want technology and tools as well as staff to assist in using the resources that are available to them in the facility.
- Light, airy, welcoming, flexible spaces
- A variety of spaces to satisfy different learning styles and needs
- Many choices in seating
- Technologies students don’t have themselves
- Adaptable for future changes in learning/teaching approaches and technologies
- Support collaboration and student-created content
- Unique features, not just more of what we already have
- Help generate new ideas
These goals were established based on ALA studies on what people want in their library systems.
The information center area (computer centered) has more chairs than computers so people can pull together and collaborate. The library also provides video cameras that students can check out and make videos, they also offer rooms with video cameras where students can practice their presentation.
Damn, I wish I was in college now. Stuff like this is so cool I would love to have a video room where I can record and review presentations that I have to deliver.
This is the real future for libraries to serve as a learning center where learners can come together and have all of the technology necessary to facilitate learning.
The biggest problem has been providing power. In viewing other libraries the problem was that power supplies are broken. The problem has occurred at Santa Clara University’s library as well.
A lesser success was the training and instruction rooms where they could train the use of software that the university supports. The room was built with the flexible collaborative spaces, but the collaborative alignment was only used twice because the power and data connections make reconfiguring slow and difficult. So requests had to be made in advance for the reconfiguration.
Overall it has been a success; in only 27 months that have had over 2 million visits on a campus that hosts 8,500 students on average. Overall lessons learned:
- Technology is a facilitator, not an end in itself
- Collaboration in many forms is here to stay – design for it, but not to the exclusion of solitary, quiet space. Students are developing their own culture around noise in the center.
- Design for variety and flexibility of spaces and furnishings in all buildings. Remember “forgotten spaces” like hallway – it is hard on people who like order.
- If allowed, students will create spaces to meet particular needs.
- This can be hard on furnishings
- This can be hard on staff.