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Resurrecting the Elihu Burritt Library: The Challenges and Opportunities of Rehabbing Library Space
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Resurrecting the Elihu Burritt Library: The Challenges and Opportunities of Rehabbing Library Space


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Presentation given at the NERCOMP program "Spaces That Inspire: Gathering the Data and Acting on What our Students Tell Us About the Library as Place" May 10, 2012.

Presentation given at the NERCOMP program "Spaces That Inspire: Gathering the Data and Acting on What our Students Tell Us About the Library as Place" May 10, 2012.

Published in: Education

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  • 1. Resurrecting Elihu Burritt LibraryThe Challenges and Opportunitiesof Rehabbing Library Space Carl Antonucci & Debbie Herman
  • 2. The Old…
  • 3. Mission circa 2004 “The mission of the Montage Elihu Burritt Library is to provide quality information services and collections in support of the Universitys educational goals and, in so doing, meet the information needs of a premier 70s Northeastern regional university.”Photograph by Edward J. Schullery, early 1970s
  • 4. Old Strategic Goals1. To provide and promote excellent and innovative library services, and improve methods in assisting library users in accessing appropriate informational resources.2. To provide digital services and collections and the infrastructure to support on and off campus users and to become a major resource for digital resources that support the curriculum.3. To develop and maintain library collections according to well defined plans and policies.4. To expand and expedite convenient access to these collections through efficient processing and organization of materials.5. To continue to evaluate organization structure and operations to manage human resources effectively.6. To utilize space resources effectively while ensuring proper maintenance, service and use of existing equipment, furnishings and facilities as well as ensure safety and security for library occupants and materials. In other words… We buy stuff and we hope you will use it!
  • 5. Epic Challenges!•Anti-student policies•Unwelcoming!•Outdated and worn outfurnishings•Shortage of amenities studentsactually need•Poor and unfriendly signage
  • 6. But What Are They Really Thinking? Warren William in The Mind Reader, 1933
  • 7. The New! Mission 2011 “The Elihu Burritt Library at Central Connecticut StateUniversity satisfies the 21st centurylearning and research needs of its community of learners by facilitating knowledge creationand inspiring intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning.”
  • 8. Vision Statement 2011In 2015, the Elihu Burritt Library will, for thecampus community, be:•An information laboratory for knowledge discovery, creation,sharing, and curation.•Thoroughly integrated into the fabric of the University throughinnovative collaborations with teaching faculty, informationtechnology, academic support services, and the community.•A public commons equipped with flexible learning spaces forgroup interaction, educational programming, and individualpursuits.•A catalyst for developing the habits of mind that enable criticalthinking and the ethical use of information to support studentacademic excellence and lifelong learning.
  • 9. Community InputStudent Focus Group – Spring 2011Not enough… oComputers oOutlets for laptops and space to work with your own laptop oCubicles for private, quiet studyingRecommendations: Study area that is open 24 hours. Change policy for reserving study rooms Walls and decor should have brighter colors Room where you can talk without being hushed More quiet study/Peaceful atmosphere Bathrooms on all floors White boards/Computers in group study areas
  • 10. Community InputFaculty Focus Group – Spring 2011 Recommendations: Fewer drab colors and more inviting atmosphere. Performance space for lectures, etc./Classroom space Bathrooms on every floor Access to complimentary services (i.e. research & writing combined with technical help) More one-on-one assistance for students doing research Small child care drop off facility for students and parents who are in need of study time Make reference and research services less intimidating
  • 11. Engaging StudentsMy Dream Library ContestSpring 2011
  • 12. Our New Space!
  • 13. Understanding Community Needs Survey Respondents (n = 275) Undergrads Grad Students Faculty/Staff Guests
  • 14. Understanding Community NeedsCommunity Survey – Fall 2011 What brought you to the library or website today? Class Assignment 177 (42%) Research 179 (64%) Study 65 (23%) Meet People 19 (7%) Use the Internet 37 (13%) Check out, Renew or Return Books 56 (20%) Other Answers Given: Jazzman’s and Printing
  • 15. Community InputCommunity Survey – Fall 2011 What services would you like the library to offer? • 34% want recreational (fun) reading and/or DVD collection • 40% want textbooks on reserve • 30% want to check out iPads, e-readers, and video cameras • 32% want the availability of other student services such as IT, Writing & Career Center in the library • 37% want to have presentation practice space • Other responses: childcare, more events & lectures
  • 16. Tips for Getting Through a Renovation• Sometimes you get what you get, so don’t be upset!• You will have to sell change to some staff members• Have a good relationship with the administration and staff from campus facilities• Pick your battles• Attend as many weekly meetings with the builders and architects as your schedule allows• Don’t be a pest• At times you have to live with some noise and fumes and the disruption of your daily routine
  • 17. Challenges•You have to realize that many staff members are very adverse tochange•It is hard to come into a renovation process that has already beenstarted•Working in a public institution limits ability to choose furniture,carpeting and fixtures because of the bid process•No matter how the project turns out you are always going to havestaff who are not satisfied•It is hard to transform space and the way a library operates at thesame time
  • 18. The 2nd Floor: A Blank CanvasHow we imagined they’d use the space…
  • 19. How They Actually Use the Space!
  • 20. The Payoff
  • 21. Presentation slides: