So, I thought I would expand more one this subject as part of my Reflections post. I saw this article on i09 about houses with slides. How about a library with a slide? Here’s the LEGO office building in Denmark.
Not exactly a slide but Googling around I found this neat boat for a children’s check in area.
These are some neat ideas especially for public library settings but what about an academic library. The Information Commons idea has been in the academic library community for some time now. I remember my work library wanting to create a common’s area for over ten years now. What has happened? Why don’t we have one? Well, the biggest problem is the ability to generate interest within the university administration then to convert that interest into a plan and a funding source. Our library got the attention of the university president. We were given the go ahead to consult with an architect to re-envision the library space as a commons. Together we planned to move the computer area to the entry level rather than the 3rd floor where it is now. We planned to add study areas with smart boards and technology focused learning areas. We planned to rethink reference, technical services, serials and basically how all library service are delivered. We had a good plan.
Then the economy dropped out in 2008 and our plans and funding were put on hold. Our spirits were broken as we came close to archiving a real change in the library services and everything was put on hold. After an initial phase of disappointment, our library has been making small changes that ultimately will re-envision the library. Our heritage/archive room was completely redesigned to be more inviting. We incorporated opening the heritage room as a new entry into the library as per the original redesign plans. Our library’s 4th floor is being remolded now with plans to be reopened by the summer. It will have a fresh look and powered study tables (the 4th floor is designated as a quite study area so no radical changes in the workspace).
Finally, my thoughts drift to MakerSpaces. I wish there were MakerSpaces at my public library when I was growing up. That would have been awesome. But again, I see MakerSpaces being more for public libraries than for academic. Throw in a school of medical students and there is even less room for technical spaces. There are already medical simulators on campus and not a need for the library to house their own (plus they are expensive). The closest thing that I think we can do is to make available to the students for checkout the latest gadgets. For example, the library can stock the five best eBook readers either for checkout or to create a permanent kiosk to display the eReaders and let patrons touch and feel the technology. Drexel University has an automatic laptop checkout machine available 24/7 for students that need a laptop at anytime.