Friday, December 7, 2012

Library Journal: Year in Architecture 2012

The diner booth as a learning space started at U. Penn's Weigle Information Commons. It is fast becoming a standard element in academic libraries.

That's the reference desk in the background at Purdue's Parrish Library of Management and Economics, one of five very different takes on the ever-evolving commons concept in LJ's feature story on new and renovated academic libraries.  The others are:

IDEA Commons at U. of Illinois - Chicago

Massachusetts Maritime Academy's ABS Information Commons

The CUBE at Colorado State U. Morgan Library

The Center for Science and Social Science Information at Yale U.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Windward CC Library Learning Commons Grand Opening

Windward Community College (Hawaii) celebrated the grand opening of the first "green" library in the U. of Hawaii System on August 29.  The building's Hawaiian name, Hale Laakea, means Hall of Enlightenment.  The college hopes to attain LEED Silver certification.

Library Learning Commons Grand Opening:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Marywood U. - From Library to Learning Commons

Marywood University in Scranton, PA has announced plans to transition from the library to a learning commons, "a true learning center for students and faculty, where available information-technology resources are centrally and efficiently integrated to further student learning and to facilitate faculty and staff transformation."  2015 is the target date.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Learning Commons at Northwestern College

Northwestern College (Orange City, IA) dedicated a new multipurpose, $14 million DeWitt Learning Commons which houses the college’s library, academic support center, writing center, multimedia center and institutional technology help desk. September 2013.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Coastal Carolina U. - Bryan Information Commons

Barbara Burd, Dean of Library Services, has been updating the progress on the soon-to-open Bryan Information Commons at Kimbel Library.  Grand opening is planned for August 20, 2012. 

"Having had a sneak peek at the Bryan Information Commons, I was impressed by the natural light and the wonderful views of the campus through the expansive windows. Students will be able to relax and reflect in the comfortable couches and chairs provided in these areas. In addition to soft seating, the information commons will feature individual and group work areas, study rooms, presentation areas, a library instruction classroom, a reference/consultation office, and a vending machine area with cafe tables and booths. The Information Commons will support state-of-the-art technology in a wifi environment. Mediascape workstations will provide spaces for collaborative projects. Both Mac and Windows desktop computers will be available at individual workstations. All study rooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards to facilitate student learning."  Read more. 

Construction Photos, April, 2012.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

GateWay Community College - Integrated Education Building

Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) in Arizona was a pioneer in the evolution of the information commons concept.  Phil Tompkins started the ball rolling at Estrella Mountain CC in the mid-1990s.  Now GateWay Community College is about to open the Integrated Education Building, which will include the functions of "student services center, library and classroom building to meet the needs of the rising student population."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Information Commons Discussion Group at ALA

The group will meet Saturday, June 23, 10:30 am - 12 noon at Disneyland Hotel, Magic Kingdom Ballroom 4.
Rudy Leon, U. Nevada - Reno, is the moderator.

Monday, April 30, 2012

UNB-St. John Gets LEED Silver Commons

U. of New Brunswick's St. John campus opened its LEED Silver-certified Hans W. Klohn Commons in September, 2011.  Though the exterior design is reminiscent of the mid-20th century International Style, the infrastructure and the environmental systems are all 21st century.

Klohn Commons (notice that they eschewed the use of a limiting adjective such as information or learning) is home to Information Services and Systems (read Library and IT combined) and includes support services for writing, math and science.
More pictures at:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning

The acronym is WisCEL (pronounced "whistle") and it is a partnership of the UW-Madison Librariesthe Madison Initiative for Undergraduates, the College of Engineering, the College of Letters and Sciences, and the Student Information Technology Initiative.

Located in Wendt Commons (the Engineering Library) and the undergraduate College Library, the WisCELs "combine deliberate choices of physical environment including multi-use spaces, technology that supports both peer-collaboration and self-paced learning, and software which provides immediate feedback to students on assignments and exams and allows increased instructor time with students." And they are in spaces that used to be library book stacks.
In addition to large group instruction, t
utors and TAs for engineering courses are in Wendt Commons. The WisCEL in College Library offers pre-calculus and calculus assistance.

So what does this mean for the future of libraries?  Here is WisCEL's take on that topic:
"Each location offers a new perspective on the library of the future: Instead of row after row of books, there are a variety of flexible, multi-use, technology-rich spaces, including classrooms and areas for small-group discussion, tutoring and peer-to-peer learning. Rather than being the end of libraries as we know them, initiatives such as WisCEL will write an entirely new chapter in the lives of libraries as cutting-edge educational partners—vibrant commons areas that offer a suite of academic tools and services in a location students already frequent."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

U. of California, Santa Cruz - Renovation and Expansion

A couple of recent articles spotlight the success of the McHenry Library at U.C., Santa Cruz.  A University News article from last September covered the official opening of the Global Village Cafe, the Information Commons and group study rooms with 15 ft. windows and a "stunning view of towering redwood trees."

A more recent article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel details the $100m renovation/expansion which began in 2005.

btw McHenry Library is also home to the Grateful Dead Archive.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Canadian Learning Commons Conference - Registration Open

Registration is now open for the 6th Canadian Learning Commons Conference, May 7 - 9, 2012 at the University of Calgary.  Donald Beagle and Margaret Mackey are the keynoters.
The pre-conference workshop, led by Melinda Scott of George Brown College, is titled "Assessing the Impact of the Commons on Learning Outcomes."

Opening reception will be at the new Taylor Family Digital Library.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In the Works - U. of Manchester, Alan Gilbert Learning Commons

Summer 2012 is the target date for the opening of the University of Manchester's Alan Gilbert Learning Commons.  It promises to be "a flexible, ultra-modern and stimulating learning space."  The Commons will be managed by John Rylands University Library.

Architect's fly-thru:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Williams College - a New Sawyer Library

July, 2014 is the target date Williams College is  working toward for the opening of a new Sawyer Library as part of a renovation and integration with Stetson Hall.  The new library will house the humanities and social sciences collections as well as a Learning Commons, the Center for Media Initiatives, a cafĂ©, and the college archives. "By collocating previously dispersed collections and services, the new library will create new synergies and creative opportunities for collaboration."

Sawyer Library (1975) to be demolished (brief history here)

New Sawyer, east elevation (July, 2014). Architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) designed the project

Animated walkthrough   

Construction site photos on Flickr

Steve Satullo's blog Eph's Libraries: Old to New traces the history of libraries at Williams, beginning with a collection of 360 books in one room of the original college building.

Monday, January 16, 2012

ALA Midwinter: Learning Commons Discussion Forum

Sunday, January 22, 2012, 4-5:30pm
Dallas Convention Center, Room D174

Has your library partnered with academic support services to offer a “learning commons” in the library, or are you discussing/planning such a partnership? If so, please join us for a discussion forum on “The Learning Commons and the Academic Library: Using Emerging Technologies and New Partnerships to Build Student Success.

Carrie Donovan, Head of Teaching & Learning at Indiana University Libraries, will speak about the processes and partnerships IU is developing as they redesign their information commons. Attendees will then have the opportunity to discuss how emerging technologies can transform both spaces and services. Be prepared to share your own ideas and experiences as well as your dreams for how the creative learning commons can support the 21st century student.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yale Opens Its First Info Commons

Yale Daily News reports today on the open house for the new information commons, officially the Center for Science and Social Science Information, located in the basement of Kline Biology Tower, a 1965 Philip Johnson building. 

Yale administrators are hoping that the CSSSI will foster more collaboration and interdisciplinary work.  An adjoining Cafe provides an informal space that will help humanize the Tower, which the Daily News reporter refers to as an "overbearing structure."

See my earlier post for details on how the library administration views the new facility.  

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