Information Update - Spring 2013
Learning Commons Planned for the Library
- In celebration of the Weinberg Memorial Library's 20th anniversary, we have been fundraising to implement future improvements within the library. One of the fundraising goals is to create a "Learning Commons" within the new 24-hour room. Learning Commons, sometimes called Information or Knowledge Commons, are collaborative flexible spaces, often including a digital media lab with software, hardware and gadgets for students, faculty and staff to conduct research, create projects, and experiment with cutting edge technology. Many colleges and universities have been building these spaces within their libraries. Penn State University and St. Joseph's University have both opened their facilities within the past year. Since opening our new 24-hour room last year, we have worked to move the bound periodicals formerly housed there to storage and the second floor. We have purchased new furniture and added computers and printers. We will continue to improve the space, infuse it with technology, and adopt a collaborative culture of learning.
- A committee, consisting of library faculty and staff, as well as faculty from other disciplines and representatives from Information Technology Services, has been formed to lead this exciting new project. The committee will host focus groups with faculty through the Technology Advisory Group to learn about software and hardware that would enhance their course assignments as well as their research. We will also be speaking with students to learn about services they wish were provided on campus as the library moves forward in the 21st century. The committee will also visit other libraries with learning commons to see what has been successful and gain inspiration from our peers.
- Some ideas thus far include video and audio production labs that have microphones, video recorders and software for editing. We would also like to provide spaces for video conferencing, presentation practice areas, and digital whiteboards for taking notes and sharing them electronically. Also useful would be projector screens or monitors that students can plug into with their own laptops and share with a group. We may explore software for visualization projects like Tableau or Visual. Some other ideas include lockers to charge phones and laptops, additional iPads or other tablets for students to check out, and perhaps adding Macs to the library's computer labs.
- We are currently in the brainstorming phase and will be working to prioritize the needs of our campus to fit within the changing landscape of libraries and technology. The project will be implemented in stages. If you have any suggestions for services that you'd like to have in the library, we are always open to hearing from you and improving our building to meet your needs.
- Sheli McHugh