A MONITOR ON EVERY TABLE? Rising student expectations

November 21, 2013, 3:29 pm

The aspiration was once a power outlet for every table– but the stakes are rising. Are we entering an era where students need (and expect) a monitor on every table?


Virginia Tech students bring their own monitor to the library for collaboration.

Earlier this week I heard about a group of students who brought their own monitor into the library. They were coding together and required a shared display to collaborative effectively. We do provide group monitors, but they are always in high demand… so they used their own.

While I appreciate the ingenuity of this group to improvise on a solution, I also feel like I let them down. As soon as some funding opens up in January I’m going to purchase a handful of monitors and have them installed at group tables. This has been in our renovation documents for a while now, but this particular case has helped accelerate those plans.

It also raises the question: should we be loaning monitors? We are already circulating laptops, iPads, and other technologies, why not monitors too? This is actually part to a larger ongoing conversation—a potential shift in libraries from being hardware providers to display destinations. As students increasingly prefer to use their own devices, as opposed to desktops, libraries can become the place where they go to plug in. They can use our locations to create and collaborate, or just to experience content on a larger screen– or two, or three.

I’ve always viewed this as happening down the road but maybe this shift is actually just around the corner?

Thanks to Monena Hall and her students for making me aware of this emerging student need.

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