September 5, 2012, 1:33 pm
Quick post to get this blog rolling again.
Last week our Herman Miller rep dropped off a SPUN chair for us to try out. As soon as I saw it I had a negative reaction. It was just too silly and impractical. When you spin around in it you feel like you’re going to fall off.
The story could have ended there.
The next day I heard library staff talking about it. They had seen it in the mailroom when it arrived and in the lobby of the Dean’s Office. It was mysterious. It was unusual. It was cool. Had I missed the point?
Like any good startup I knew that we had to test the concept with potential users. We put it out on the main floor and invited students to share their thoughts on Facebook and to tag the library.
Last night we had eight students offer comments, two included photos of themselves in the chair. That’s pretty good for the second week of …
June 19, 2012, 5:36 pm
Last week at the New Media Consortium Summer Conference Joichi Ito gave a talk in which he built upon the concept: “the Internet is a philosophy.” It’s not about servers or websites. It’s not about mobile devices or mobile apps. It’s a philosophy. It’s not a technology—it’s a belief system. His presentation was based upon his NY Times essay from last December.
This came up during a recent conversation with Gardner Campbell. BTW: I recommend reading his Foo Camp chronicles. Basically, everything is a philosophy:
All this stuff is based on a cogitative narrative. They are beliefs that were developed into a tangible concept—but at the heart, at the molecular level, they are still just ideas. Ideas that could be morphed, remixed, or…
May 18, 2012, 1:59 pm
Last weekend I went to Target to do a little Mother’s Day shopping and I walked into a branded environment. I’ve written about this before for television and social media, but this example was implemented in a physical space.
Let me backup and say that renovation is in the air at Virginia Tech and I’ve been studying/observing a variety of retail experiences—from service transactions to the display of merchandise to wayfinding to in-store traffic patterns. I’ll share more in a future post, but I think that there is a lot that libraries can learn from commercial enterprise in terms of moving people through space and grabbing their interest along the way.
So Target— they recently launched The Shops. In a nutshell, they selected a handful of regional retail stores and packaged their goods (or you could say they curated their collections) and brought them into …
February 29, 2012, 7:09 pm
Library Journal invited me to serve on a panel reviewing “landmark” libraries. Here is the official link.
The core attributes include:
- design and construction
- response to campus context and constraints
- beauty and delight
This is for new academic library buildings or substantial renovations completed between 2007 and 2011. The deadline to submit is March 20, 2012. If you work in an amazing academic library or if you helped build one — please share it with us.
I have a lot to say about learning environments— but I’m holding off until this competition is over. Where Good Ideas Come From has totally changed the way I think about space, people, and context. I’ll leave it at that for now.
February 3, 2012, 6:01 pm
I’ve been talking with students about their preferred work/study spaces around campus. The Math Emporium, aka The Empo is one that gets mentioned often. In short: located in strip mall across from campus, bus service, dining and gym in the same complex, 500+ Macs, lots of software, open 24/7, and it has an app. Here is a good descriptive chapter via Educause.
The thing that struck me during the conversation is the assistance service model. Students who encounter a challenging math problem or who have software issues can place a red cup on top of their computer to indicate that they need help. A graduate student or instructor will then approach and provide assistance.
I instantly thought of Fogo de Chão, a great Brazilian restaurant in Buckhead, with tableside service. It works like this: You have a token beside your plate. Flip it to green and your table is swarmed…
December 15, 2011, 7:55 pm
I saw an ad in Virginia Tech’s sarcastic newspaper for TechPad, an office space located across the street from campus above a busy restaurant. This is how it’s described online:
An open co-working space with common areas for lounging and two conference rooms. Located above PK’s restaurant in Blacksburg, Virginia, is convenient to downtown shops, restaurants and Virginia Tech’s main campus. Over 10 companies currently work in TechPad.
Amenities include: dual wan broadband, month-to-month flexibility, printer/fax, wifi, 10% off PK’s, on-site mentoring, $3,000 of cloud hosting.
I was fascinated by this concept of a 24 hour, co-working, commons environment, which obviously has some library parallels. And if you know me, then you know that I’ve been obsessed with startup culture lately, so I had to go check it out. At VT we are in the initial stages of renovation planning and…
December 9, 2011, 4:11 pm
Note: this might be a good time for everyone to dust off their emergency planning protocol.
Yesterday was a wild, scary, sad day. My brother is a police officer in Florida so whenever stories like this happen it hits a sensitive spot. My sympathy to the Crouse family. It’s very quiet on campus this morning, but I’ve seen most students wearing VT clothing (it’s actually like that everyday) —so it’s good to see the school pride on display after what happened.
Reflecting on the events yesterday there were three distinct phases:
- The “Probably A False Alarm” aka Waiting Stage
- The “Oh, It’s Real, People Are Shot, Manhunt Is On” aka Chaos Stage
- The “Now What?” aka Quietly, Waiting, Wondering Stage
The campus buildings went on lockdown shortly after the officer was shot. Our staff responded efficiently and professionally securing the library…
September 7, 2011, 7:10 pm
Back in April I posted this on Twitter:
“Working on addition and renovation I am hoping to avoid using the term Commons– it’s a library, KISS! BTW, Commons is so last decade!”
Several people retweeted this so it seems like there is interest. Let me explain a bit of the back-story. A friend posted images on facebook of a library she visited that had just refurbished their Research Commons. In fact, this Commons 2.0 concept seems to be growing. Academic libraries that had developed these spaces five, six, or ten years ago are now rethinking them. This varies from simple refreshment of the furniture to totally redeveloping the concept.
What bothers me is the use of the term “commons” and how it caught on like wildfire. Over the last decade every modern library had to have a commons. Toss in the descriptor of your choice: information, learning, research, knowledge, scholarly,…
July 27, 2011, 5:19 pm
The exterior of my library building is quite boring. Function triumphed form with each addition that was added over the years. My campus has some very intriguing architecture, but the library would be low on the list if there were an official ranking. Granted we’re attempting to change that very soon, but for now it is forgettable facade, despite being the tallest building on campus. I believe that this is common occurrence with many older buildings—we can all be envious of the newer structures that patrons find inspiring.
I was pondering this problem as I walked to a meeting across campus. What do each of the buildings say to me as I encounter them? What impression does the exterior of the library make on new students or visiting families? As they tour the campus or during the first week of the quarter when they are excited about classes and meeting new people – what is their…
July 11, 2011, 5:38 pm
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…