Category Archives: Spaces&Places

July 11, 2011, 5:38 pm

A Future Space For Reference Services? An Inspiration From GALE

Gale might be in the reference resources business, but after seeing their booth at ALA I’m thinking they should try their hand at reference assistance delivery space. I found their booth very inspiring—and they might just have the key to unlocking the “future of the reference desk.”

Here are a few images I snapped on my phone and I offer a conceptual drawing.

The Next-Gen Reference Experience
Imagine something like this. The space is branded somehow so that users know that this is the research help hub. A patron sits down at one of the couches, essentially inviting a librarian or library staff to approach him. The librarian hands the student a laptop/tablet and they get to work on the topic. When finished, the patron takes the laptop/tablet with him, after the librarian uses a wireless device to check it out. And/Or if the question is more involved or if the patron…

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May 24, 2011, 12:11 pm

ORGANIZING A DESIGN CHARRETTE: gathering a visual response for learning spaces (a packet)

We’re gearing up for a sizeable renovation and I’ve been trying to include students and faculty in on the interior design discussion. I’m planning a full post on the campaign later this summer—most likely after ALA—but in the meantime, I wanted to share this with others working on similar projects.

I’m a big fan of the design charrette activity. Having used it before, I definitely wanted to include it in my current efforts. It’s easy to conduct and students always seem to enjoy it as an outlet for creative expression. It’s also helpful to gather a visual response when talking about learning spaces.

This time around I wanted to conduct the charrette in a very public setting. I wanted everyone who entered the library to see it happening and to have the opportunity to participate—or at the very least to take s look at the renderings and other information that was…

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April 27, 2011, 11:53 am

Can you encourage people to recycle? Our attempt to switch behavior

This is a follow-up to my post Assessing Your Greenness: a serendipitous stroll toward sustainability.

Our campus recently conducted a waste stream audit in the library. Download UCSB_Library_Waste_Audit What it boils down to is that our patrons generate a lot of garbage.This gives you a sense of coffee cups alone:


It will be interesting to see what happens when we temporarily close our coffee operations during a long renovation. Obviously students will still bring coffee into the building, but I suspect they’ll consume less when the impulse to purchase is no longer right down the hall.



The biggest takeaway from this experience is that students are not recycling– at least not as much as we expected. UCSB prides itself on sustainability and being eco-minded so I was anticipating higher numbers. What it boils down to is that 66% of our waste is recyclable, yet only…

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April 18, 2011, 9:43 am

Will Students Pay $14 Per Quarter for New Study Space… that’s not located in a library?

Today kicks off our campus election. I always love this process; it is the same everywhere: you have a group of super energized people who go out there rah rah rah, trying to reach a mass of apathetic people who have no idea what student government is or are cynical toward it.

I am particularly interested in one measure involving study space:

University Center (UCen) – Student Study Space Renovation and Support Fee.

In a nutshell they are asking students to pay $14 per quarter (for 27 years) in order to develop an underutilized area in the student center building. Here is what they are proposing:

  • Group study rooms
  • Computer labs
  • Study lounge
  • Power outlets for every seat
  • Scenic views
  • Longer hours

Here are some photos:

Study_loft1 Loft2 Loft3

Hmmm, looks pretty much like every renovation that academic libraries have been building over the past decade. If you substitute library

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April 7, 2011, 12:22 pm

Reframing the Concept of Plagiarism, Or What I Learned From Banksy

I really enjoyed the Banksy movie. The first half was especially fascinating, chronicling the rise of street art. The second half seemed a bit fantastical, but I’ll suspend my disbelief for the sake of entertainment.


The film made me think of a recent project that we had in our library. It was titled Motivational Reflections and brought a street art vibe into some of our bathrooms.


The short version of the story: An enthusiastic student ends up in my office. She pitches an idea for a class project involving bathroom mirrors. Right away I was worried.


She goes on to outline a creative and inspiring idea. I’ve encountered numerous students with crazy ideas, but I must commend this one for being very organized. She had drawings, a timeline, a statement of purpose, descriptions, etc. It was well thought out. How could I refuse?


Basically her goal was to create a serendipitously…

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June 27, 2010, 11:14 am

FIT, MOVEMENT, & STORAGE: More on the Steelcase NODE (Interview with Sean Corcorran, Part 2)

Someone commented on the previous post asking how
different body shapes would fit in the Node. I recommend viewing this
because it shows real students using the chairs. You’re able
to get a sense of spacing. The nice thing about the tablet workspace is that
you can adjust it accordingly– it is fairly accommodating to each person.


 I was in a classroom last week for a faculty training
session and these were the chairs we had to work with. If you want to talk
about limited space for Big & Tall take a look at the current era of chairs
on your campus.



Continuing my interview wit Sean
Corcorran, Director, Product Development & Marketing @ Steelcase

  • The big aspiration was to support active learning. That was
    the core theme they wanted to explore. As students and technology and teaching
    styles have changed, there has been a widening gap between classroom…

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June 16, 2010, 6:30 am

The story of the Steelcase Node: Sean Corcorran Interview (Part 1)

I’ve had the opportunity to work with both Steelcase and
Herman Miller. Both are icons in the furniture industry. What I really like is
their competition for the learning spaces marketplace. It drives innovation. It
propels new concepts forward. This is good because we get to witness the
advancement right before our eyes.


This competition results in research—research into unmet
needs. Here is a little history on one such project. I’ve been a fan of Node
since March
and I am grateful that Steelcase gave me an interview with
Sean Corcorran, Director, Product Development & Marketing, for
their educational division. On the same week that he’s talking with
and Metropolis
he found some time to fit me in.


Here is some of what he shared with me:


  • Before the Node, Sean was a product developer for 20 years.
    17 years at IDEO. He was there when it all began in the 1980…

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June 13, 2010, 9:43 pm

A glimpse into the future of the classroom: how the Steelcase node will change the way we teach


This week is NeoCon,
the big show in the furniture world. I really hope to make it out there someday
because I want to experience what’s new in the world of design. It would be
cool to check out Stride
and the Vox
this year.


One new product that I am really excited about is the Steelcase
. I hinted about this back
in March
but wasn’t able to reveal anything more at that time. Steelcase
has been really cool about it though and granted me an interview with
Sean Corcorran, Director, Product Development & Marketing,
Education Solutions (and former
IDEO guy.) They also gave me some prototypes and sketches that I can
share. I’m planning to do several posts this week about the node, but for now
let’s take a look at what it’s all about:



My initial reaction was that it
looked kinda cool, but so what. It has the tablet-like arm, which they refer…

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June 8, 2010, 9:51 am

Whose Space Is It Anyway? A question on library behavior for the sake of art

 Last week we had an unusual occurrence—a class
was assigned to develop temporary art installations in the library during their
regular meeting time. Their assignment focused on the concept of personal
space. Here are a few that I found:

Photo-45 The transformation of a study room into a dorm room.

Elevator2 The transformation of an elevator into a dorm room.

Elevator1 The elevator walls.

Photo-46 These invitations were scattered around the building.

Photo-47 On the 4th floor footprints to lead you to a balcony.

Food1 Feast.

Food2 Art.

Food3 People.

Getting_ready1 A girl outside the library is "getting ready" for the day. Took her three hours. She acted as if this was her personal space.
Floor1 The tape path.

Floor2 Putting down more tape  

Overall I like the concept, however, administratively this
posed some questions. We didn’t mind that students were doing these projects
but wished that we known about them ahead of time– although I presume that…

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April 28, 2010, 1:32 pm

Introducing the post-library commons world: wild speculation on the future of computing and what it means for the learning environment

I’ve been thinking a lot about computers in libraries
lately.  I’m talking about
hardware, not web 2,0 stuff. I’m really hopeful that my library is able to
upgrade its public computers and move to
thin clients this summer,
but enough systems talk. 

The topic of computer access comes up regularly in my
Next Steps
interviews. Directors in all types of libraries seem to be pondering the same
thing: reducing the number of desktops and move to something else. Interest in
mobile devices continues to rise and it is very possible that we’ll move to
purely wireless machines such as laptops and iPads.
that people don’t typically carry their laptops around with them, so
it seems logical that libraries will need to beef up the lending of these devices. This appears to be the natural progression ahead of us. It also allows
patrons more flexibility in terms of where they can work…

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