Evolution and transformation: spaces, services and staircases


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Singapore Management University’s Li Ka Shing Library was designed in 2002 and built prior to 2005. It was officially opened in 2006 as part of a brand new university in the city with the two Singapore cultural icons on each side, the Singapore Art Museum and the Singapore National Museum overlooking the Campus Green with its heritage trees. The six storey building houses the library that occupies four storeys, with levels one and two housing various businesses, cafes and restaurants and other campus facilities. The growth in student numbers coupled with the changing needs and expectations of today’s student population and the outdated design features have prompted the library and the university management to begin a master planning exercise. The scope of the master planning process and the journey itself presented both expected and unexpected outcomes in terms of raising awareness of space use, realignment of library operations, user involvement, service re-design, multi-purpose spaces usable by a variety of user groups, commercial use of spaces, fund raising, and political and strategic alliances across the university

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  • Play the video hereIt gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to Singapore Management University. We are delighted to host the IFLA Library Buildings & Equipment Section satellite Conference here at SMU. Many of you have come from far away, I hope you are enjoying and will enjoy your stay in Singapore. It is also wonderful to see so many of our Singapore colleagues here. I want to thank the Section Standing Committee members, Dorothea Sommers, the Chair and others Jeffrey Scherer, Stefan Clevstron, Sharon Bostick, Janine Schmidt for asking us to host the conference. It has been a productive collaborative venture across many continents, but here we are today.I would like to mention a few names from SMU Library who played significant roles in making today possible, Devika Sangaram, Library’s Administration & Operations Manager, RajenMunoo, Head of our Learning & Information Services, Nora and Shameem who did the website. I would like to acknowledge Tamagin Blake-Smith, the architect behind the masterplanning from Hassell Architects, who is here with us today.
  • Stairway To Heaven, the 1970s rock song by Led ZeppelinThere's a lady who's sure all that glitters is goldAnd she's buying a stairway to heaven.When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closedWith a word she cant get what she came for.Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings,Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.Ooh, it makes me wonder,Ooh, it makes me wonder.
  • Puzzle. Anyone guessing the reason for these pictures will get a prize at the end of my presentation. Stairway to Heaven was the name of the song you remember?
  • The purpose of my address today is to give you a glimpse of Singapore management University, its library and the master planning exercise we have been doing in the last 7-8 months
  • SMU – a different U;
  • Library services were outsourced to the National Library Board for the first 8 years. Here is a signing of MOU in 1999 with our first President Janice Bellace and Christopher Chio, the then CEO of NLB. The first University Librarian Ruth Pagell joined in 2005.
  • Executive PhD; interdisciplinary work and have derived three key areas of research excellence, namely Business and Social Analytics; Financial Institutions and Financial Markets; and Innovation Beyond Technology. a wide range of postgraduate courses, diplomas andprofessional education for all age segments. Innovative teaching, learning. 94% full employment upon graduation.
  • Our first President JaniceBellace is from Wharton, she has been on our board from the beginning of SMU until this year. We have strategic partnerships with various Indian and Chinese universities and corporations. Joint programs…
  • As an introduction to SMU Libraries, here is a night time picture of Li Ka Shing Library taken at night by one of our professors, Winston Koh
  • And this one taken by one of his students Hong Huazheng. Huazheng is now a professional photographer. The library building is named after its donor Dr Li Ka Shing, a Hong Kong business man.
  • Our biggest strength is our expert staff, whose dedication, knowledge, expertise and passion have placed the library at the heart of the campus in a very short time. Our collections are very focused on business, finance, law, information systems, banking and other areas directly related to SMU’s focus areas. We have been lucky not to have inherited large legacy collections. We are quite focused on building the electronic collections, e-access and e-facilities, rather than large physical collections. Service, service quality, service levels, student and faculty experience both physical and virtual and emotional are key areas to focus for us.
  • The library is situated betweenthe two cultural icons of Singapore, on each side - the Singapore Art Museum and the Singapore National Museum.
  • Campus Green, very attractive, but daytime use can be somewhat limited due to Singapore weather. The views from the Library beautiful, relaxing and helps with reflection. Library has a lot of glass, windows, so a lot of natural light.
  • The Library’s vision agreed by all library staff, supporting SMU’s vision and strategic goals: STRATEGIC GOALS 2011-2015 1.Deliver a holistic undergraduate education experience with a distinctive interactive pedagogy, involving multi-disciplinary perspectives and a culture of rigorous learning and innovation 2.Create a stimulating and dynamic research culture combining focused disciplinary research with opportunities for multi-disciplinary perspectives 3.Become an Asian knowledge hub for research centred around the world of business and management 4.Develop high quality graduate, professional and executive education programmes 5.Raise the reputation and international profile of SMU 6.Ensure financial strength that sustains growth and innovation
  • Well, form follows function, function follows strategy and strategy follows vision.
  • As late Steve Jobs said and proved through his many deeds, customers no longer want products and services, they want experiences. Why are coffee shops, like Starbucks so popular. People don’t go there to drink coffee alone, do they? With universities investing so much time and money into making aesthetic changes to learning and library spaces, is there any evidence to show that building design actually enhances learning or drives more people to use the library and its resources? There is evidence pointing to an increase in usage.
  • The theme of this conference ‘Making ends meet: high quality design on a low budget’ is quite meaningful and reflect our thinking regarding master planning. Many of us have seen disaster renovations especially when they are done out of context, not related to the whole organisation and sometimes not even integrated to the rest of the library. They are sometimes done to solve somebody’s or a particular unit’s immediate problem which then lead to serious consequences and quite expensive to fix, both financially and politically.
  • Variety of seating - individual, group, quiet, discussion space).Minimise/eliminate any ‘dead’/unusable spaces, and create more usable, innovative and vibrant spaces for a variety of study and activity uses.Bring all library staff together in one area and use more space efficient and innovative office arrangement for stronger team building activities and more effective communication across teams
  • The inputs for the library space transformation project came from a number of sources, including library staff planning exercise resulting in a SWOT analysis , survey results from the SMU Students’ Association Annual satisfaction survey, focus group meetings with various student groups, a special consultancy report done by a group of students on the library as a whole, suggestions received through the library suggestion box, results of pre and post tests done for first year students and finally the LibQual library survey conducted in early 2013Powerpoints, printing room, existing coffee shop, the entrance, furniture, shape and size of service desks…..
  • The space challenges the library faces today are closely linked to the evolution and transformation of library spaces and services coupled with changes in pedagogy, use of library resources, scholarly communication, research practices, the growth of SMU, student demographics and technology. It was interesting to examine the original assumptions regarding the planning and design of the library space more than ten years later. The table below compares the original assumptions for the 2002 master plan and what the current state of the library is
  • Level 5 and level 2 areas are often used for Smu functions and activities
  • The library is very popular amongst students. Gate count for library visitors has been increasing every year, in particular over the last two years. It went up by 21% from 2011 to 2012. In the last twelve months, the turnstile figures showed almost one million visitors. There are increasing numbers of days during term time when daily entrance figures reach over 5,000 which is quite high for a library designed for 6,000 undergraduate students. The building is open 24 hours for about three weeks closer to the examination period to support students’ study needs. The library provides one of the venues for events and activities on a regular basis throughout the year, except for the blackout periods near exam periods. Some of the many events include the annual Patrons’ day dinner graced by the President of Singapore and other dignitaries, as well as campus blood drive, Chinese New Year celebrations, workshops, seminars, conferences, book launches, various student welcome events and so on. Community activities in the library are encouraged as campus spaces for such events are limited
  • Students improvise with furniture and create their own study spaces like this one, next to the lifts in the corridor.
  • Personalisation of space and facilities and using library spaces for multiple activities, academic work, entertainment and personal objects, like a teddy bear!
  • We are very popular with the students. This is an example of a suggestion/comment/declaration of love from one of our students. We receive such input at least once or twice a week.
  • Here is a confession from a student about to graduate!
  • The LibQual survey results which rated the library very well, were highly favourable about library staff and services. However, library space did not fare well which was not surprising considering the comments the library has been receiving from the students via other channels for some time.
  • SMU Student Association does an annual survey of student sentiments and satisfaction for all university services, including the library
  • A recent entry in a Handbook for International Students about the Library stated that “ Pin-drop silence is not mandatory in THIS library, at least not in the Collaborative study area on Level 2
  • Participants were asked to think about a typical day in their lives whether working or studying at SMU prior to coming to the sessions. A day in their lives at SMU, regardless of their use of the Library, physical or virtual use of the library. They were also asked to bring an example of another similar library or community space, a building elsewhere in the world, it could be an example of a great work, exhibition, performance, relaxation or teaching space, it could be an example of a great outdoor space, in short it can be anything that inspires you in relation to thinking about this project.Metaphor cards.Strategic activity mapping, menu of settings.
  • Here is a group of PG students
  • Here is a group from SMU Student Association
  • This is one of the library staff focus groups
  • Another student group, these are student helpers who work part time in the Library
  • The review of existing collections and planning for future spaces should never be a one-off activity for a library. SMU Library is fortunate not to have large legacy print collections as we aim to have small print and large electronic collections. However, print collections keep growing and need to be reviewed on an on-going basis.
  • Here is an artist’s impression of the soon to be built Law Library named after the late wife of the former PM of Singapore, LKY. The ground breaking will take place in January 2014. It is expected to open in late 2016 or early 2017.
  • Evolution and transformation: spaces, services and staircases

    1. 1. Evolution and transformation: spaces, services and staircases Gulcin Cribb University Librarian Singapore Management University Our Passion, Our Commitment, Your Advantage
    2. 2. Agenda • Singapore Management University (SMU) and Li Ka Shing Library – case study • Why Master Planning? • Challenges and the Journey
    3. 3. SMU Chronology • 1997 Singapore government conceives SMU • 2000 SMU opens to 300 students in Bukit Timah Campus • 2000 – 2002 Library designed for 6000 students (Edward Cullinan Architects) • 2005 Library opens its doors (2500 students) • 2006 Library official opening as Li Ka Shing Library • 2013 SMU – 8,000 students (ug and pg)
    4. 4. Singapore Management University (SMU) • 6 Schools – Business, Economics, Accounting, Information Systems, Law, Social Sciences • Broad based education, small classes, interactive tutorial style learning • International experience, community service, internship • Active participation in university-wide extra curricular activities • 6 buildings at the heart of Singapore
    5. 5. “The University for the World of Business and Management” Focus on Business, Finance, Economics, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Information Systems (computational social science and analytics) and Law High level of collaboration with the business world at local and international levels, e.g. India and China Joint activities with Wharton Business School and Carnegie Mellon
    6. 6. SMU Libraries – Li Ka Shing Library • • • • • • • 8,000 sqm, 1,500 seats, 34 project rooms 39 staff – 16 professional librarians 137,000 books (Over 86,000 e-books) Access to about 80,000 e-journals Nearly 1 million visitors in FY2012 Open - 96 hpw during term time Madam Kwa Geok Choo Law Library - 2016
    7. 7. Singapore National Museum Singapore Art Museum
    8. 8. Campus Green
    9. 9. Vision To be a leading research library providing ubiquitous access to information using innovative strategies to drive intellectual exchange and the creation of knowledge.
    10. 10. Initial Vision for Master Planning To create a dynamic, flexible, unique, innovative, efficient library/learning space for SMU community
    11. 11. Experience “Customers don’t want products or services, they want experiences” Steve Jobs The best organizations provide as many of the 4 e’s as possible Entertainment Education Escapism Esthetics
    12. 12. Why Master Planning? • Holistic view of the building and spaces • Not piecemeal solutions • Strategic approach to the needs of the university as a whole • Plan big and implement small
    13. 13. Objectives • More flexible, multi-purpose and multi-use spaces in the Library and the rest of the building, e.g. Level 1 and Basement. • More functional, effective and conducive study spaces in the Library, i.e. reflective, interactive, collaborative. • A separate 24/7 study area with its own air conditioning. • More prominent and welcoming entrance to the Library. • A variety of event/function spaces
    14. 14. Objectives • Increase seating and the variety of seating • Minimise/eliminate any ‘dead’/unusable spaces • Make the most of the Campus Green, integrate the Library with the Campus Green spaces • Synchronise the Li Ka Shing Library master planning with the Madam Kwa Geok Choo library planning. • Combine service points in order to provide a more seamless and integrated service. • Bring all library staff together in one area
    15. 15. Challenges • • • • • • • • • Not enough study spaces and lack of variety Quiet and collaborative spaces Increased numbers of students Need for a 24/7 study area Staff distributed over four floors Too many service points Entrance and way-finding confusing Inefficient space use, traffic flow Spaces for student needs and university events – conflicts?
    16. 16. Changing Times Volumes Original assumptions and plan (2002) 309,353 volumes including 16,000 current journals, 3,144 recent back runs and 124,360 bound volumes plus 7,200 CD-ROMs, 1,950 AV items Seating 1,280 including 36 group rooms Number of computers 166 2013 – current situation 50,000 (we intend to keep the numbers low; law collection will be housed in the Law library); e-book collection : 83,000 titles e-journal collection: 72,000 titles 1,500, including 34 project rooms 45 (we intend to keep computer numbers low as all students own at least one device and prefer using their own computers; some of the computers are needed to access special finance eresources, e.g. Bloomberg, Capital IQ etc.
    17. 17. Levels • Level 5 – Quiet study areas, group study rooms, Postgraduate Suite, Learning Lab, meeting room, staff offices • Level 4 – Quiet study areas, group study rooms, collaboration spaces, collections, printing room, staff work room • Level 3 - Collaboration spaces, group study rooms, collections, quiet study areas, printing room, staff offices, Information Desk • Level 2 – Collaborative Study Area, quiet study areas, group study rooms, printing room, lifestyle and media collections, reserve collection, services desk, café, entrance • Level 1 - Cafes, SMU Shop, open spaces, benches • Basement – Student activity areas, leading to the MRT, Food Court, commercial entities, open courtyard
    18. 18. LibQual comments • The entire atmosphere at the library - feels too cramped and crowded with people for it to be a place for reflection or creativity • There isn’t enough space for quiet study • If zones for group work and individual were more clearly demarcated, students will know where the appropriate place to go
    19. 19. LibQual comments • The service has been top notch for years. The librarians go out of their way to be helpful. (Faculty) • I believe that SMU has a leading library team that understands and cares for the needs of every individual student. The library team has played an integral role in my academic pursuits thus far. • I like how the librarians are always eager to assist me whenever I approach them with questions. The library training I received in class is also very useful.
    20. 20. SILENCE Absolute silence zones. Why would you even allow ‘quiet’ when it should be silent. Please do not have a conversation friendly space IN A LIBRARY. Quiet Places with VIEW (of greenery) and table Sometimes, the collaborative learning space is noisy. The library should put a watch on students who can’t keep their noise level down. I wish the silent rule was more actively enforced. Whispering is alright, but people have loud conversations and phone calls/webcamming in the library and it’s highly distracting. Don’t need conversation-friendly space, library isn’t a place to talk….. Keep the café silent as well People shouldn’t even be talking in the library, it’s a library!!!!!!! Silent zone Please remove the sounds of lifts when it goes up and down. It makes many spaces near it unconducive for studying.
    21. 21. “Libraries were places of silence with pockets of group work and activity. In the 21st century university, they are becoming places of learning activity with pockets of silence.“ The Guardian Higher Education Network, 6 August 2013
    22. 22. Journey • Student involvement, engagement and excitement • New way of thinking about leased spaces • Single desk feasibility study • Review of existing collections, collection planning and management • Planning for the new Law Library
    23. 23. Madam Kwa Geok Choo Law Library • Madam Kwa Geok Choo Law Library
    24. 24. “Students are undoubtedly affected by inspirational university buildings and libraries in particular have a great influence on the reputation of the university and the ability of the university to attract prospective students.” The Guardian Higher Education Network, 6 August 2013
    25. 25. “The library is a place that has no agenda other than allowing people to invent their own agendas” Fintan O’Toole
    26. 26. Acknowledgments • Tamagin Blake-Smith Senior Interior Designer, Hassell Architects • Devika Sangaram, Administration & Operations Manager, SMU • Photographs by Prof Winston Koh and Hong Huazheng and Devika Sangaram • Office of Campus Development, SMU • Ruth Pagell, Founding University Librarian, SMU