Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Essential Reading - Theory, Planning and Case Studies

The latest two issues of Journal of Library Administration (v50 n1 January and v50 n2 February-March 2010) are chock full of good reading on all aspects of the commons phenomenon. The January issue includes conceptual and contextual essays by well-known commons experts Donald Beagle, Joan Lippincott, Martin Halbert, Michael Whitchurch, Leslie Haas and Alison Stillwell. The February issue is a compendium of case studies: Providence College, Texas Christian, Arizona, Georgia, Calgary and Sheffield universities.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In the Works - Libraries Planning for Commons

Grand Valley State U. (MI)$70 million renovation and new construction of the Pew Library and Information Commons, scheduled for completion in 2013.

U. of Tennessee - Chattanooga: "Student services and technology are front and center in the new UTC Library. The entire building is designed with the robust infrastructure needed to support today’s and tomorrow’s technology devices. Students, staff and faculty can bring their own laptops or use one of the Library’s 400+ desktops and notebooks. The digital creation and conversion center will give students a lab where they can create and edit videos or convert analog media to digital, with help from specially trained staff. The learning and information commons will provide more than just computers and printing; Reference Librarians and Technology Specialists will be there, ready to assist, teach and troubleshoot problems with students. July 2010 is the target for beginning construction and we hope to move in by Spring 2012."

California Polytechnic - Academic Center Projected opening in 2013 "The Academic Center & Library, a joint collaboration between the Academic Affairs, the Kennedy Library, and a number of partner groups including the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and Information Technology Services (ITS) seeks to provide enhanced learning, teaching, and research opportunities at Cal Poly. The project includes renovation of the existing Kennedy library, addition of space to alleviate deficiencies, replacement of classroom space removed for the building expansion, and development of specialized campus classrooms."

Rosemont College (PA) will begin renovating Kistler Library in mid-May for a September launch of the Remembering Sr. Helen Mary Weisbrod, SHCJ Information Commons "The Library's lobby and Reference Room will be completely changed into a single space with workstations, group study rooms, and a new information desk, all designed to enhance and encourage collaboration."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Princeton U. - Report on Kindle pilot program

Here is the abstract from the executive summary of Princeton's experiment with the Kindle DX e-reader. The full report is available from the program's website.

"In the Fall of 2009, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at Princeton conducted a pilot program using electronic readers (e-readers) in a classroom setting. The pilot was conducted with three broad goals. One was to reduce the amount of printing and photocopying done in the three pilot courses. The second was to determine if using this technology in the classroom could equal (or better) the typical classroom experience where more traditional readings were used. The third sought to explore the strengths and weaknesses of current e-reader technology to provide suggestions for future devices.
E-reader technology offered the promise of delivering a large number of digitized documents on a lightweight device with a long battery life, and a display that mimicked the reflective qualities of actual paper. The consumer market in e-readers had already proved it was possible to read on these devices; we sought to see if they could be useful in higher education by conducting a pilot using e-readers in several courses.
Three courses were selected for the pilot, involving 3 faculty members, and 51 students. The e-reader used in the pilot was the Amazon Kindle DX.
The goal of printing less in the pilot courses was achieved: pilot participants printed just over half the amount of sheets than control groups who did not use e-readers. The classroom experience was somewhat worsened by using e-readers, as study and reference habits of a lifetime were challenged by device limitations. This pilot suggests that future e-book manufacturers may wish to pay more attention to annotation tools, pagination, content organization, and in achieving a more natural “paper-like” user experience. In summary, although most users of the Kindle DX were very pleased with their “reading” experiences with the Kindle, they felt that the “writing” tools fell short of expectations, and prevented them from doing things easily accomplished with paper."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

5th Annual Canadian Learning Commons Conference

The Queen's Learning Commons will host the conference, June 16-18, 2010 at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. The focus is on the future, and, to tell from the summaries in the program descriptions, the future looks to be collaborative, student-centered, mobile, and ever-changing.

Program details here.