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Creation of social spaces in libraries


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  • 1. Creation of Social Spaces: Future Success Mantra for Libraries Jitender Sharma Librarian NIILM Centre for Management Studies Plot No. 53, Knowledge Park 5 Greater Noida – 201306 Mob. 09899695953 E-mail:,
  • 2. What does it mean? • According to Wikipedia, a social space is physical or virtual space such as a social center, online social media, or other gathering place where people gather and interact. Some social spaces such as town squares or parks are public places; others such as websites, shopping malls etc. are privately regulated. • In context of libraries, a social space can be a physical space or a virtual space like social media applications • Creation of social spaces in libraries offers the users to meet informally, hold discussions, organize social events or specialized shows, arranging exhibitions, space for food joints and so on. These spaces help in engaging users in more effective and meaningful manner.
  • 3. Some Images of Social Spaces in Libraries
  • 4. Some Images of Social Spaces in Libraries
  • 5. Some Images of Social Spaces in Libraries
  • 6. Some Images of Social Spaces in Libraries
  • 7. Some Images of Social Spaces in Libraries
  • 8. Why Social Space is Needed • Libraries increasingly subscribe to and provide access of digital information resources. More and more users are using tablets, mobiles and Internet to get and exchange information. They don’t find any reason to visit library. Libraries have to attract them back to their premises through innovative and user-oriented services and ambience. • Learning is now becoming more and more social and new generation users prefer library areas that are conducive to study in groups. Libraries need to provide users social space for group discussions or for collaborative works • Apart from bricks and mortar structures, community place and space, a presence in cyberspace, and a place of self learning and fulfilling hobbies make a library complete. It encourages emotional, social and intellectual development of users • Users are very active on social media. Library has to reach to these users through presence in social media • Properly designed social spaces can increase users’ motivation
  • 9. Libraries are facing serious Competition today Competition is multidimensional. It my come from sources like: • Other libraries offering excellent user services • Mega online retailers like Amazon or Flipkart • Food joints like Starbucks, Café Coffee Day, and McDonald etc.
  • 10. What does Competition Offer: Study and Activities Areas at British Council Library
  • 11. What does Competition Offer: Study and Activities Areas at American Centre Library
  • 12. What does Competition Offer:
  • 13. What does Competition Offer:
  • 14. What does Competitors Offer Customer can Leisurely Sit and Work at Starbucks Customers using Laptops at Starbucks
  • 15. What does Competitors Offer Café Coffee Day offers Wi-Fi, Meeting Facilities McDonald too offers Spaces for Meetings with Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • 16. Libraries v/s Online Retailers    Stacks filled with thousand of books, difficult to browse through All searches have to be made within limited time available including issue/return Monotonous in nature, provides information about books, magazines only    Online Retailers offer contents browsing free of cost any time anywhere Material can be ordered online, automatically refers to other similar sources, home delivery Heterogeneous. One can find all items at one place including household groceries
  • 17. Libraries v/s Food Joints etc. Places for self study  Mobiles need to be switched off or keep in silent mode  Silence needs to be maintained all the time  Tea/Coffee or eatables not allowed  No discussion of any kind  Places for socialization  Mobiles, laptops or any other devices can be used  Can easily hold meetings, discussions etc.  Spend time and hold discussions over a cup or tea/coffee with eatables  Places meant for free flow of discussions 
  • 18. Change in Users’ Profiles • New generation users prefer learning areas conducive to study in groups • Heavily dependent upon mobile and electronic devices for getting instant information • Very active in collaborative activities • Always online on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs etc • Prefer audio-visual learning approach rather than reading through books only • Active in extra curricular activities
  • 19. Need of Attitudinal Change among Library Professionals From custodian of library holdings to optimum utilization of their resources User friendliness attitude rather than putting barriers in the name of rules and regulations Need to understand that library services are driven by user needs, not by building huge collections or technological advances alone Need to understand change in education teaching and learning processes…
  • 20. Need of Attitudinal Change among Library Professionals More than a decade ago, in one of the interactions Late Mr. Jambhekar, librarian, IIM Ahemdabad had said “If a book is stolen from our library, we do not get worried unnecessarily but get more copies of the same as we consider it a worthy book that users want to read” Such a big attitudinal change from a custodian of books to optimum user friendliness is what librarians need to undergo
  • 21. Need of Attitudinal Change among Library Professionals Government is trying to provide tablets to more and more college and school students. But libraries don’t allow users to use mobiles and laptops in libraries. They don’t provide power plug facilities in libraries. Libraries need to create within them separate social spaces to accommodate changed reading and learning habits They need to open up a dialogue with users to know their requirements. Rest follows. In brief, librarians need to shake off their stereotype image and attitude and embrace new technologies and approaches to support learning through new ways and means in the 21st Century
  • 22. Success Mantra Social spaces are necessary in today environment. But at the same time, libraries need to identify goals, scope, resources and constraints of library before creating social space. Each library purpose, users and facilities differ. For example • A defence library can’t create social space for general public, however, it may provide social space for its own clientele needs • Public libraries can create social spaces for all types of people irrespective of their gender, caste, race or religion Each library can improve upon their ambience, informal and formal sitting arrangements and may open up small cafeteria facilities and Wi-Fi enabled places so as to attract users in large numbers
  • 23. Success Mantra Libraries need to convert themselves to multipurpose entities without losing their core focus of information and knowledge provider. They can arrange social functions, cultural, sports and educational events or competitions for different age groups Social media tools like Facebook, Twitter etc. can be used by librarians for continuous library alerts and news updates Librarians can reach to a larger users segment using these online social space media. Same is the case with other Chat applications Libraries can develop separate space and offer Internet, Wi-Fi, Power points and informal sitting facilities for users Libraries can provide access and guidance on use of its resources and reach out to more and more users in need of support
  • 24. Success Mantra Libraries need to understand today user. He is impatient, creative, expressive and social. He doesn’t believe in structured format or environment. Libraries need to equip themselves to handle new breed of users and design their services, spaces accordingly Libraries also need to remember advantages they have over bookstores, online retailers, food joints etc. Users still need a place to study, reflect, and escape from the noisy environment surrounded them. Moreover no commercial venture is free in comparison to libraries which generally offers free or highly subsidized services.
  • 25. Success Mantra With just an extra effort in terms of providing social spaces and the information in the format that users want, libraries can overcome challenges posed by competitors This way libraries can bring transformation much beyond the conference theme “bricks to clicks” to “from collection to connection” or even “from collection to creation”
  • 26. Success Mantra A famous book “The Great Good Place” by Ray Oldenburg defines the significance of the third place in a healthy society. Neither work nor home, the third place is a neutral community space, where people come together voluntarily and informally in ways that level social inequities and promote community engagement and social connection. There can’t be a better place than libraries to fill the space of the third place. As libraries are purpose-driven organizations. They are socially responsible and socially responsive. With no profit motive, they have the ability to identify and respond to community needs as neutral social space unlike home and workplace.
  • 27. Small Initiatives at NIILM-CMS NIILM-CMS library has developed a separate room with 20 power points connection and informal sitting arrangements where users can sit and read at their leisure Wi-Fi connectivity in enabled there like at all other places in the institute NIILM Cafeteria are also Wi-Fi enabled and students can sit there any time in groups preparing for their presentations, assignments and so on NIILM has created blogs for its students, alumni etc. where faculty and students keep posting information about new developments
  • 28. Concluding Words… To be successful libraries need to pursue new approaches in their design and services. They need to provide platforms for social engagement, move away from fixed and rigid frameworks and designs to comfortable, open-ended venues for people and participatory activities. Like social media where people have built up their own community spaces, libraries too can fulfill those aspirations of their users. Libraries are places where critical thinking is encouraged to thrive. Hence, it is an urgent need that we create new social spaces in libraries so as to stimulate intellectual discussions, innovative ideas through group interaction and much more.
  • 29. Thank You All