Alchemical Thoughts

Article Note: On social learning and enhancing a learning center

Posted on: March 25, 2008

Citation for the article:

Black, Coral and Susan Roberts. "Learning the Social Way: Enhancing Learning in a Traditional Setting." New Review of Academic Librarianship 12.2 (2006): 83-93.

Read via Interlibrary Loan.

This article was very minimal on details of how things were done, which is why I initially picked it up. Ordinarily, I would not have bothered to post about it; I am certainly not posting about it at The Gypsy Librarian. Besides, to add to my woes today, Blogger was acting up yet again. However, since it reminded me of some similarities to my library now, I wanted to at least notes those small details. Otherwise, the article is pretty lackluster. In the brief abstract, the authors claim that "the case study here provides an in-depth exploration of a 'minor' redevelopment that has had major impact on learners." The article is not really one with much depth. It goes through the mandatory literature review and then lists some of the changes they did. Their changes were small given they have restrictions when it comes to funding. This was what caught my eye given that we have some significant funding restrictions here as well as well as space restrictions, but in the end, I did not get a whole lot of out of the article. Basically what they did was do some changes to promote a more informal, social setting in their library by doing the following (see page 88 for the list):

  • More express terminals for quick access to Internet, e-mail and the catalog.
  • A small cafe area was added.
  • Group study spaces with informal seating and group rooms.
  • More wireless technology for laptops, including checking out their own.

Some of these things are things we do or are working on such as the express access terminals. We need to add more power points, but given the age of our building, and the outdated design, drilling and so on to add new electrical points. When we recently added new furniture for  the reference area computer stations, the drilling for the power points under the tables was quite an odyssey. I will say it was worth it, but it was a major event (we had to close for two days).

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