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Creating Library Spaces of the Future
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Creating Library Spaces of the Future


Presentation given by LaTesha Velez from UNCG and Philip Cherry III from Onslow County Public Library.

Presentation given by LaTesha Velez from UNCG and Philip Cherry III from Onslow County Public Library.

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  • Modified an attribute list used in the Given & Leckie public library studyA total of 20 sweeps were completed over a two day period, Thursday April 22, 2010 and Tuesday, April 27, 2010. The first sweep began at 12:48 pm and the second at 11:16 am. These times and days were chosen because it was believed the library would be busy. 5 sweeps were conducted in the learning commons and 5 in the Special Collections on each dayDuring the sweeps, a total of 11 male and 9 female students were observed. All but one of the individuals observed appeared to be 25 or under. Only one appeared to be between 25-30. 2 males appeared to be engaged in group study (studying with at least one other person) although there was a third who was clearly sitting with another male (they were sitting at a computer work station together) but didn’t appear to be talking to the other person or looking at the computer screen. 4 females were observed engaging in group study, with one group using a white board. Most group study occurred in the learning commons with only one group of two females observed studying together in the Special Collections Reading Room.The most commonly performed activities in males were using a laptop, reading, and listening to an iPod or some other device (5 instances). Among females using a laptop was the most commonly observed activity (7 instances). At both times during the learning commons sweep there was a mixture of ethnicities. The individuals in the Special Collections Reading Room were predominantly white males and females. There appeared to be more women than men on both days. There were a few Asian students, and only one African American was seen on either day. That student was male. Overall it appeared that individual studying was occurring over group study and students were frequently multi-tasking, e.g. using a laptop while listening to an iPod.
  • Numbers in parentheses show the mean score (1: never;7: always)
  • Numbers in parentheses show the mean score (1:not at all important; 7:extremely important)
  • Observational studies have been used in malls, shopping centers for many years to observe customer patterns and behaviors.


  • 1. Creating library spaces of the future
    LaTesha Velez
    Diversity Resident Librarian
  • 2. Perceptions
    The changing library
    The Deserted Library
    The rise of the social library
    The library as place
    Does the building still matter?
    Public sphere
    Communal model
    Social model
    The new library
    Library as a source of “context diversity”
    (Ibarra, 2001, 2005)
  • 3. Background
    How do patrons use academic libraries spatially?
    Are there differences?
    Learning styles
    Year in college
  • 4. Challenges
    Defining spaces
    What types of spaces do exist in libraries
    What types of spaces should exist in libraries
    Hidden variables
    Type of work being done
    Individual background
    Marital status
    Creating spaces
    Monetary issues
    Space issues
  • 5. Theories on diversity
    Multi contextuality
    Context diversity
    Ibarra, Roberto (2005). A Place to Belong: The Library as Prototype for Context Diversity. ACRL Twelfth National Conference.
    LC (Low Context)
    HC (High Context)
    Multicontext users
    Oblinger, Diana (2003). Boomers, Gen-Xers, & Millenials: Understanding the New Students. EDUCAUSE Review,July/August: 37-47.
  • 6. Methods
    Research questions
    Q1. learning styles and perception of library as space
    Q2. learning styles and use of library as space
    Q3. learning styles and individual differences
    Q4. relationship between individual differences and perception and use of library as space
  • 7. Methods
    Study sample/site
    D.H. Hill Library, North Carolina State University
    Learning commons
    Special Collections Reading Room
    Survey sample size: 100
  • 8. DH Hill Library Learning Commons
  • 9. DH Hill Library Special Collections Reading Room
  • 10. methods
    Perceptions of the library
    Use of a library
    Learning styles (High contextual vs. Low contextual)
    Demographics (race, gender, age, etc.)
    Data collection
    Sweeps (Observational Study)
    Administered on-site
  • 11. Preliminary Findings
    Observed a lot of females in reading room
    Individual study over group
    Fewer African American students in reading room
    Only males
  • 12. Preliminary Findings
    Spaces most often used during the semester
    Quiet space, 37%
    Social space, 28%
    Both types, 35%
  • 13. Preliminary Findings
    Favorite space
    Quiet study space, 45%
    Social space, 44%
  • 14. Preliminary Findings
    Frequency of use
    Number of times visited
    At least 3 to 5 times a week, 62%
    1 or 2 times a week, 24%
    A few times a month, 11%
  • 15. Preliminary Findings
    Hours spent in library during the previous two weeks
    More than five hours a day, 33%
    3-5 hours, 27%
    1-2 hours, 24%
  • 16. Preliminary Findings
    Days of the week
    Weekday night, 85%
    Weekday day time, 50%
    Weekend, 16%
  • 17. Preliminary Findings
    Most Frequent
    Doing assignments (6.0)
    Group study (5.29)
    Using computers/lab (5.23)
    Least Frequent
    Reading for pleasure (2.06)
    Sleeping (2.23)
    Playing a game (2.41)
  • 18. Preliminary Findings
    Perceptions of the library design
    Adaptable spaces (6.34)
    Flexibility (6.16)
    Open but clearly defined space (6.08)
    Technology and tools (6.0)
    Types of resources academic and leisure (5.96)
    Furniture (5.78)
  • 19. Michael Crumpton
    Assistant Dean for Administrative Services
    University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • 20. Example at UNCG
  • 21. Identifying Space Problem
    Library consists of 3 story main building built in 1950 and a 9 story book tower
    131,705 sq ft of space at capacity
    Seating for 849 reduced by 50% last 5 years
    Collection runs full, incoming acquisitions outpacing withdrawals
    Student requests are for group study areas with tools for collaborative work
    Quality of instruction effected by small instructional space
  • 22. Proposed FutureRenovations
    Create a larger instruction lab
    Expand collaboratories and group spaces
    Expand information commons
    Expand service areas to include newsroom, in-house vending, expanded copy center
    Expand Archives space
    Reduce and relocate Government Documents
    Reduce size of Reference collection
  • 23. Purpose of Assessment Activity
    Gain hard data to present to consultant for programming ideas related to renovations
    Gain data on how students use the building
    Gain data to present to University Administration for funding requests
    Determine students’ satisfaction with the Libraries
    Consider changes to technology policies and actions to library space
    Determine future needs
  • 24. Changes in Functionality
    • SuperLab – needed for convenience
    • 25. Wireless – highly used, but need space in which to use
    • 26. Instruction – class and individual, grown significantly but needs more space
    • 27. Food and Drink – keeps students in library
    to work
    • Increase in student population – natural facility on campus to feel the increase
    • 28. Increase in higher degree level research needs
  • In-house Survey
    November 2007
    Jackson and Music
    Set up table in Library
    Staffed with students
    600 responses!
  • 29. What they do
  • 30. How often they come
  • 31. When they’re here
  • 32. Alone vs. Groups
    Group floor
    Quiet Floor
  • 33. Computer usage
    Reference Room
    Information Commons
  • 34. Using Materials
    Reference Room
    Reading Room
  • 35. Role of Library Space
    A Learning Environment
    Transformational character of intentional learning
    Knowledge transformation
    Library as facilitator:
    Environment design – comfort and aesthetics
    Nurturing relationships – staff and/or peers
    Foster self-directed learning
    Creations of “new” knowledge
    Safe and non-threatening
    Bringing together readers and books
    Collection building
    Space for reflecting and contemplation
    Third place use of space
    Information Consulting
    Access to information
    “Gateway “ for locating information
    Retrieval and communications
    Social and technological networks
    “archive” or preserve resources
  • 36. What’s Happening to Our Space?
    Electronic vs. print
    Organization shifting
    Reporting structure, traffic
    User needs changing
    Remote use, group activities
    Other space demands
    New equipment
  • 37. Purposeful Assessment of Space
    Space as a factor to organization’s mission
    Services provided
    Partner in learning
    Things to consider
    Consideration of assessment’s purpose
    Types of questions to be used
    Data-gathering methodologies
    Reporting strategies for results
  • 38. Basic Elements
    Statement of purpose with context – addresses unique concerns and significance
    Literature review – multiple issues being addressed out there so a review of relevant activities is good
    Determining assessment objectives – through development of research questions to be answered
    Establishing methodologies and procedures for implementation of assessment activity
    Present facts based finding of date w/o bias
    Discussion or interpretation of findings
    Conclusions and next steps
  • 39. Problem Statement
    Needs to represent the point of view of stakeholders
    Needs to identify the scope and focus of planning an assessment activity
    Should contribute history and background information as well as flags for concerns
    Should put in context what the limitations are or could be
    Must be conveyed in an open transparent point of view that isn’t seen as defensive
  • 40. Space Design
    Programming – what space will be used for
    Initial layouts – DD
    Detailed review of infrastructure – CD
    Professional standards
    Codes, local and multiple
    Interior designers
  • 41. Space Options or Needs
    Group teaching/learning
    Simulated/special learning environments
    Immersive environments
    Peer-to-peer and social learning
    Learning cluster
    Individual spaces
    External spaces
  • 42. Doing your research
    (data gathered firsthand)
    (data gathered by others)
    • Secondhand reports
    • 49. Historical data
    • 50. Purchased data
    • 51. Professional publications
    • 52. Benchmarking
    • 53. Best-practices reports
  • Focus Groups
    emails to student groups,
    posters, flyers
    Good mix of undergraduates, graduate students and subject areas, ages, off-campus and on-campus
    Took notes and transcribed
    Used LIS practicum student again
    Part of discussion was showing space consultant’s first concept drawing
  • 54. Assessment Methods - Questionnaire
    Literacy and/or language issues
    Clarification or explanation issues (lack of detail)
    Responses limited to context of question
    Perfunctory answers
    Can be consider impersonal or cold
    Most cost effective for quantity of feedback
    Can be compared
    Can be statistically analyzed
    Less time consuming
    Can be done simultaneously and in multiple locations
  • 55. Assessment Methods – Interviews (IND)
    Least time-efficient and usually most costly
    Interviewer should be practiced and skilled
    Interviewee selection must be broad to represent all points of view
    Should consider sampling models
    Provides personal communication opportunities:
    More details
    More free association
    Problems or issues can be explored in depth
    Allows for examples, anecdotes, stories, illustration of issues
  • 56. Assessment Methods – Focus Groups
    Requires prep and skilled facilitator
    Be aware of peer pressure responses
    Recognize broader stakeholder definition to get all viewpoints
    Use data from other methods to support proposals
    Keep it realistic
    Teaching tool
    Group interaction can procreate broader issues
    Non-verbal clues can be useful
    More time-efficient for interacting with more people
    Achieve better overall understanding
  • 57. Other Methods
    Sandboxing – test concepts prior to large scale commitment
    Design charettes – stakeholders allowed to actually create design
    Outside experts – seek input from specialized expertise
    Close-ended vs. open-ended questions
  • 58. Observational Studies (Sweeps)
    Checklist of observable behaviors
    Various times of day and evening
    Multiple observers involved
    Eliminates emotional or subjective data
  • 59. Delphi Study
    Technique premise is that experts have the best idea of future pathways
    Validity of study is based on expertise of participants
    Questions/responses are adjusted until participants reach consensus or determined it can’t be
    Not a precise analytical technique
    Is helpful with problems or issues that aren’t data driven
  • 60. Delphi con’t
    William J. Mitchell (paraphrased)
    Spaces that work well (long term) are built around human needs, comfort, natural light, social ambience, connection to outdoors
    Must remain sensitive to how technology and culture come together
    Change statements
    Why or why not
    Impact and desire
    Agreeing on consensus
    Results ranked
    Causes of non-consensus
    Economics and technology can be changing factors
  • 61. Data Driven Methodology
    Removes politics
    Reduces emotional investment
    Makes adversarial moves more rational
    Takes problem out of personal context and allows for subjective analysis
  • 62. Factors to Consider
    Design Factors
    Space Factors
    What question are you asking and why
    What goals and objectives are already determined
    Who is the audience
    What other information is available or needed
    What is best method
    Types of stakeholders
    Infrastructure issues
    Location and adjacencies
    Non-public needs
    Efficiency of design
    Funding ability
  • 63. Questions Asked
    How often they come and when?
    Entrance they use?
    What do they do?
    What’s good, what needs improvement?
    Role of the Library?
    Concept drawing
    Indentify major changes for feedback
    Esthetics of specific areas, i.e. circ desk, basement, SuperLab
  • 64. Concept Drawings
  • 65. Student Feedback
    Library is an important place to study
    Both group space and quiet space important
    Most students use their own materials
    Don’t want to carry their laptops around
    A variety of furniture and spaces are needed
    Not getting instruction at freshman level
    Online resources particularly important to grad student
  • 66. Summarized Responses
    Circ Desk not
    easily assessable
    Superlab is needed
    but as convenience,
    would go further to use
    Food and drink important
    for using library
    Love collaboratories…
    Need more!
    Librarians helpful
    but group instruction
    suffers from lack of space
    Basement creepy
    and dark
  • 67. Other Useful Info
    Lack of awareness of some services
    Software on Library computers
    Printing options
    Copy center type services
    Carrels and lockers
    IM assistance
    Materials not as important to undergrads
    Two entrances create traffic flow and communication opportunity
    Students expect us to be there
  • 68. Effect on Space Planning
    Feedback and ideas carried into second concept drawing and final report
    Evidence of library more important for space rather than materials
    Comforts and conveniences important for ownership of space
    Library can be host to other service points with expectations of compliance
    Library is important to total educational experience and should be presented as such
  • 69. Immediate Actions Taken
    Expand collaboratories concept
    Increase popular furniture options
    Will offer laptop checkout in Fall 2008
    Offering carrels to all students
    Adding vending options
    Expanding 24/5 available space
    Will target marketing of IM, collaboratories and other services
    Implement NewsRoom in the Fall
    Add Messaging Board for traffic
  • 70. Space Assessment Report
    Reposition Circulation Desk
    Expanded Information Commons area including computers and collaboratories
    Moved Superlab to 2nd floor – destination
    Develop Cyber-café concept
    Create Government Information and Data Center
    Basement remodel to include “people friendly” spaces
    Developed “Main Street” of services concept
  • 71. Summary of Process
    Space needs and problems identified
    Space consultant hired
    Survey of student space needs conducted
    Observation studies of behavioral related traits conducted
    Focus group activity conducted with space consultant’s first concept drawing
    Space consultant’s revised second drawing compared to assessment data
  • 72. Summary of Process “continued”
    Staff feedback gathered from each concept presentation including assessment data
    Space consultant issued final report and recommendations
    Changes identified that were affordable outside of remodel executed summer ’08
    Proposal presented to Dean’s Council with request for funding assistance for major work and changes
    Assessment data summarized for staff
    Offered By
    Philip Cherry
    Onslow County Public Library Director
    Old methods of calculating space or square footage are mostly no longer applicable.
    Ideals such as “one branch every five miles or every fifteen minutes” may now be unsustainable.
    Old measurements of the library’s information “fire power” have also gone by the wayside.
    Sq. ft. per capita ratios no longer provide accurate internal guidance or desired political pressure.
    Example of old calculation:
    Ratio: 1 sq. ft. per capita
    Population: 250,000
    Library Space: 250,000 sq. ft.
    This type of measurement as a rationale for construction has lost its power with political leaders because of economics.
    Similarly space allocations that emphasize total holding capacity of physical items no longer deserve to be the central concern of interior space planning.
    There is now more information delivery power in a well designed, Internet enabled 50,000 volume facility of today than there was in a 1 million volume facility of circa 1990!
    Newer “sexy” ratios that emerged in the last decade or so created noble end goals for many communities; but ultimately proved to be sustainable in only the best economic/budgetary conditions.
    An example of this is the “five mile-fifteen minute” relationship between library facilities within a community.
    Many Library Systems that expanded aggressively using variations of distance/drive time considerations were forced to significantly scale back operations when funding was substantially reduced.
    Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
    Charlotte Public Library
    DC Public Library System
    Collection size ratios and the gross measures they are based on may still inform some through annual statistical report instruments; but really do not hold the place they once held in facilities designed discussions.
    The approaches and discussions I find still useful/relevant to public facility design discussions center on user behaviors; desired programming features (still based on user behaviors); building code requirements and sustainability.
    Unlike school, academic and special libraries, public libraries accommodate extremely open populations.
    These diverse populations bring behaviors and expectations that must be taken into account during the public library design process.
    Failure to account for these behaviors and expectations can haunt a project for the rest of its existence.
    Children & family focused activities such as storytime and family film Fridays.
    Computer workstation/Internet access is a universal public library patron expectation.
    Library as center of community life and activity will manifest itself in features such as multiple meeting rooms and service as for example polling place, town square, business center, homework center and safe house.
    Undesirable user behaviors include things such as:
    Attempted drug dealing
    Child predation
    As is the case for many academic and community college library patrons, more public library patrons expect the entire property to function as “the library” rather than just the physical building.
    Disparate user behaviors can create instant conflict between patrons (children/older readers/Internet adults)
    Large community room capable of being divided into smaller spaces using partition system. Ideal minimum capacity 100 seats.
    Kitchens or kitchenettes support meeting room.
    Small group (under 15 people) conference rooms in addition to large community room.
    Children’s & Youth areas intentionally placed away from main reading room & Adult stacks areas. (Do Not Place Storytime Room Next to Local History & Genealogy Room Unless War is a Desired Outcome!)
    Design that takes advantage of and or creates beautiful exterior views (includes plenty of window space.
    Wi-Fi technology that washes over the library property-not just the interior space.
    Meeting space designed as its own clustering allowing it to be used independently of the rest of the library.
    Well placed and secured power outlets for public use.
    Hard-wired as well as Wi-Fi Network
    Attractive carpet tiles whose patterns effectively hide dirt (and age of the carpet)
    Avoidance of high end/high art furniture that may look great but functions horribly under heavy use.
    Choice of exterior plantings that provide very open area in and around entrances and exits
    Avoidance of designs that create blind hallways, nooks and crannies where unacceptable behavior can occur
    Serpentine or dual entrance bathroom foyers rather than traditional men/women doors
    Full alarm systems that feature door contacts, glass-breaks, and zoned motion detection. Smoke/fire alarms/sprinkler requirements often driven by building codes.
    Single point general entry entrance/egress into children’s room
    Controlled single point exit from youth room to exterior reading/seating garden
    Parking lot design that calms speeding
    Front door entrance/exit that does not give the patron an opportunity to step directly into traffic flow
    Elimination of architectural features that may make the architect proud but which create immediate safety risk such as two story foyers with low upper story railings.
    Use of sustainability concepts such as those contained in the LEED program
    Avoidance of architectural details that will be expensive to replace/maintain or difficult to access for service
    Design which will allow function of facility with a less-than-ideal staff compliment
    Joint use facilities (public library/school library or public library/community college library)
    Co-located facilities (library/museum, library/science center, library/environmental education center
    Special functions contained within a library program (exceptional learning center/ job center, etc.)
    Library as emergency operations center (EOC) site
    Library facility as emergency shelter
    Library as community recovery center
  • 94. What to Read?
    Planning for Health Science Library Facilities, Weise & Tooey, Administration and Management in Health Science Libraries, vol. 8, 2000
    Space Assessment as a Venue for Defining the Academic Library, Nitecki, The Library Quarterly, Vol. 81, no. 1, Jan 2011
    Library as Place: results of a Delphi Study, Ludwig, & Starr, J Med LibrAssoc 93(3) July 2005
    The Third Place: The Library as Collaborative and Community Space in a Time of Fiscal Restraint, Montgomery & Miller, College & Undergraduate Libraries, 18:228-238, 2011
  • 95. What to Read?
    Foster, N., & Gibbons, S., Ed. (2007). Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.
    Gayton, J.T. (2008). Academic libraries: “Social” or “Communal?” The nature and future of academic libraries. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34 (1), 60-66.
    Given, Lisa M. & Leckie, Gloria J. (2003). ‘‘Sweeping’’ the Library: Mapping the social activity space of the public library. Library & Information Science Research, 25, 365–385
  • 96. What to Read?
    Ibarra, Roberto (2005). A Place to Belong: The Library as Prototype for Context Diversity. ACRL Twelfth National Conference.
    Oblinger, Diana (2003). Boomers, Gen-Xers, & Millenials: Understanding the New Students. EDUCAUSE Review,July/August: 37-47.
    Shill, H., & Tonner, S. (2003). Creating a Better Place: Physical Improvements in Academic Libraries, 1995-2002. College & Research Libraries, 64(6), pp. 431-466.
    Shill, H., & Tonner, S. (2004). Does the Building Still Matter? Usage Patterns in New, Expanded, and Renovated Libraries, 1995-2002. College & Research Libraries, 65(2), pp. 123-150.