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Volume 10, Issue 1, Fall 2009(1)

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Learning Commons Comes to Carrier Library

by Elizabeth Haworth

You can’t see the biggest changes in Carrier Library this fall!


Sure, there’s a brand new 1,200 foot Starbucks with wireless network access right inside the door, but the big changes aren’t in macchiato, they are in method.Learning Commons Definition


While construction crews furiously put the finishing touches on the new Starbucks, the Public Services staff is planning a major change in the way library services are delivered. The new service model is called a Learning Commons and will change the way both reference and circulation services are handled.


The Learning Commons is a place where students and faculty can find help through online chat reference, individual consultations, and face-to-face interactions. We are exploring ways to make information access more mobile; maybe one day soon you will be able to tweet your questions and twitter your renewals.

New Public Services Desk
Library Assistants Sheila Newman, Jody Hess (behind computer), and Student Assistant Amanda Palmer at the Learning Commons' Reference Help Desk.  Students find this temporary desk, made of furniture on hand, less imposing and more approachable.


One change you will notice is that our reference collection has moved to the Reference Reading Room adjacent to the Learning Commons.  Last year this room was a study room, and you will still find a number of study tables and chairs among the stacks.  To accommodate the reference collection to the new space, we reduced the collection by about 40 percent, with most of those books moving to the circulating collection for greater access for our users.  In the coming year we will be exploring ways to increase our collection of e-reference books to make access to background information even easier.


Expanded services will be implemented over the next four years and will include increased group study areas, more online databases, and online reference resources, and expanded wireless access. Support for technology, learning software, and presentation products will be increased. As the Learning Commons matures, students and faculty should be able to find answers to their questions and referrals to experts at one service point. Carrier Library plans to expand collaborations with other student support departments to ensure student success and a more transparent access to services.


As part of the Starbucks renovation, Aramark is providing new carpet in the reference and circulation area, later this fall we will be adding more soft study chairs, tables, display panels and a new Public Services Desk.  Comfortable study chairs have already replaced the wooden stools at the public computers.


Come see us. Ask a question. Be amazed.


Reba Leiding and Sara Williams, Editors

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