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Information Commons Discussion Group (ACRL) Community

In: ACRL Discussion and Interest Groups (Association of College & Research Libraries), Academic Libraries, Information Commons

Here we will post the minutes and files from the Discussion held at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference.

Learning Commons Discussion Group Notes

Topic: What are the roles of the Reference Librarian, paraprofessional, and student in the Information/Learning Commons? How do we ensure adequate knowledge to fulfill those roles?

Table 1

All libraries are different
Need to get buy in
One service desk with all duties shared and trained
Harness student knowledge for other services

1
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Event ALA 2016 - Information Commons Discussion Group (Meeting #138341 )

by Caroline C. Barratt (non-member) on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 08:50 am

Information Commons Discussion Group (Meeting #138341 ) 
6/25/2016
1:00 PM 2:30 PM
HILTON Lake Louise 
 

Information Commons Discussion Group (Meeting #138341 ) 
6/25/2016
1:00 PM 2:30 PM
HILTON Lake Louise 
 
By popular demand, our discussion topic will be the thorny diplomatic and strategic issue of inviting (or saying no to) new partners and services in the Learning Commons. How do you successfully implement and support new departments and services into your space? Conversely, how do you define your scope and what do you do when too many people are trying to take over your LC?
 
The online scheduler is live at http://2016.alaannual.org - please be sure to add this to your agenda! 

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Discussion ALA 2015 Info Commons Roundtable Notes

by Carolyn Cunningham on Thu, Jul 9, 2015 at 05:28 pm

 

ACRL Information Commons Discussion Group

 

ACRL Information Commons Discussion Group

Meeting Notes - Saturday, June 28, 2015

 

The Learning Commons Now: Sustaining Innovation

 

Now that the learning commons (or information commons) model has become commonplace, how can librarians working in these environments sustain their position at the leading edge? Maintaining the learning commons as a site of innovation is an important way to keep libraries at the center of campus academic and social life. Join us for a discussion focused on sharing ideas and successes to explore creative and practical ways to start, maintain, and renew your commons.

 

Discussion Co-Conveners

Carolyn Cunningham            Michael Whitchurch             Caroline Barratt

University of Texas, Austin    Brigham Young University    University of Georgia

 

AGENDA & NOTES

 

Welcome and Introduction

Carolyn, Michael, and Caroline welcomed the group and introduced themselves. Caroline briefed the group on the meeting format and began with Question 1 in small groups. After 10 minutes, the discussions were reported on and questions and elaborations occurred within the large group with Caroline and Carolyn facilitating discussion. We covered our agenda within the meeting period to discuss and report on three questions. These minutes encapsulate those discussions.

 

Question 1 - What top three innovations are you making (or planning) for your learning commons?

 

Many are renovating their library space to create more room for students to study, both individually and in groups. Moving large sets of bound serials to offsite storage is one way people are opening up space. Making the most of natural light and adding new furniture are ways to spruce up existing spaces. Consolidating service desks is another method. This move to connect patrons with different services and departments at one location extends to partners outside the library. Others are inviting allied groups like tutoring and advising to share their library space. One library shared their experience of making connections with co-located campus offices in the library space by offering librarian expertise via workshops in the Center for Faculty Excellence (e.g. on best practices for addressing plagiarism and how to best serve distance learners). One institution is using a consulting company, Brightspot Strategies, to help them understand patron needs and develop a plan for new service and uses of the space. Regarding desk consolidation, a suggested strategy is to ask for volunteers when downsizing and reorganizing the front line staff to ensure those in a public facing role want to be there. Some may want to pursue other support roles or activities and this method allows you to make the most of people’s strengths and interests to an opportunity rather than a scary feeling of losing one’s place. At many ICs, subject specialist librarians are no longer staffing the reference desk; the many directional and ready reference questions are instead answered by students and paraprofessionals.

 

The addition of multimedia hardware and software is being implemented or considered by some institutions, including support for these tools from library IT staff. A few other innovations are the addition of 3-D printing, furniture upgrades, self checkout systems, screen sharing and projectors for groups, and reservation systems to hold study space for groups (Dibs was one software used for this purpose). A discussion about a balance of creative space and study space revealed many of us are working out space allocations for different uses and relying on feedback and observation to make changes.

 

Question 2 - How are you assessing the learning commons’ impact on teaching and learning?

 

All of us are counting lots of things! Gate count, patron interactions at service desks, study room reservations, traditional comment cards, computer logins and tallies of software used, circulation statistics (of library materials and equipment) are all still assessment stalwarts. Anthropological observation is another method, with some institutions noting what students are doing at particular times of the day/week and where those activities occur. These observations then lead to reorganizing space to support those activities. One institution shared an experience of informally soliciting feedback via video interviews to uncover what activities students were undertaking in commons spaces. Writing questions on whiteboards in the IC is a fun and easy way to get feedback from students. Ask a question like, “How are our new 24 hours helping you?” and watch the white boards fill up with comments and inventive hashtags. Social media can also serve as an assessment tool with contests, queries, and promotion of surveys. Students can share information about how they are using the IC services and space, what they like most, and what suggestions they have for improvement. One IC had a “Shelfie” contest where students posted a picture of themselves to Twitter/Instagram with their favorite book in the stacks. Assessment and promotion can be intertwined on social media, likewise, organizing events that draw on student and local talent can lead to fun collaborations like Yale’s flash mob.

 

A discussion about card swipe counters revealed that libraries have a variety of experiences with this assessment technique. In one IC, students swiped their cards during interactions with writing center staff, but not with library staff. The librarian reported that their campus has a culture of swiping for many student services, so it didn’t seem to bother students. Others predicted that students might be shy or questioning of swiping for library service since we take precautions to protect their privacy in other ways. In addition, some ICs use card swipe to allow certain populations access to IC spaces, such as grad student-only study space. In one instance, funding for the space was tied to the card swipe data to show the popularity of dedicated space.

 

Question 3 - What methods have you found to fund new initiatives and/or what no-cost or low-cost programs are you trying?

 

Gallery space and exhibition space for student work can be a low-cost program that directly ties student learning to IC spaces. One institution reported creating their own low-cost DIY display systems including hanging systems for artwork and posters, and easels and pedestals for artwork. Readymag.com was mentioned as a way to capture work in digital formats.

 

Coffee and tea for grad students was a simple and effective way to invite a specific population into commons space at one institution. Most ICs are doing finals study breaks. Ideas include: food (always popular), therapy dogs, bean bag chairs, collaborating with the campus Health Center to provide give-aways and healthy snacks, free massage from the local massage schools (students need to log hours for certification), puzzle tables, yoga, root beer floats, make your own READ posters, photos with the school mascot (bingo, coloring books and more.

 

Ideas for raising money to fund these kinds of events include: ask student government (they are generally well-funded and student-centered events like these fits with their goals), have a book sale, selling Christmas/holiday cards (maybe using some images from the library’s collection).

 

Wrap-up with general questions and discussion

In closing, we returned to a discussion of graduate student services and the creation of faculty/grad student “scholars’ commons” within the IC. This group, in particular, values silent (not just quiet!) study space and lockers.The idea of a Digital Scholarship Commons was also discussed. See the Coalition of Networked Information (CNI) documents at http://www.cni.org/events/cni-workshops/digital-scholarship-centers-cni-workshop/.

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Event Information Commons Discussion Group

by ALAConnect Helpdesk (staff) on Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 11:31 am

We will gather to discuss Information (Learning) Commons issues including planning, implementation, development, management, and others. The discussion is open to anyone interested in commons spaces. Attendees are encouraged to come with questions or topics that they would like to discuss with the group. In this way, the discussion will be fulfilling for those with specific questions, and will give an overview of commons issues to those who are new to the idea. The group discussion will take the shape of the attendees’ interests.

We will gather to discuss Information (Learning) Commons issues including planning, implementation, development, management, and others. The discussion is open to anyone interested in commons spaces. Attendees are encouraged to come with questions or topics that they would like to discuss with the group. In this way, the discussion will be fulfilling for those with specific questions, and will give an overview of commons issues to those who are new to the idea. The group discussion will take the shape of the attendees’ interests. In addition to the topics brought by attendees, the discussion conveners will bring a list of commons topics, related news items, and other ideas to stimulate discussion.

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Event 2015 ALA Annual Information Commons Roundtable Discussion

by Carolyn Cunningham on Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 04:30 pm

2015 ALA  Annual Information Commons Roundtable Discussion

The Learning Commons Now: Sustaining Innovation

2015 ALA  Annual Information Commons Roundtable Discussion

The Learning Commons Now: Sustaining Innovation

Now that the learning commons (or information commons) model has become commonplace, how can those working in these environments sustain their position at the leading edge? Finding ways to keep up the level of excitement, resources, and funding we enjoyed at the start of our projects can be a challenge and, for those working in learning commons, an issue we must address or face obsolescence. In this roundtable discussion, we will generate ideas about how to keep innovating with technology, learning spaces, and programming once the initial shine of the new has faded.

As a space that relies on collaboration and community, we will share experiences and ideas about how we may enrich partnerships on campus to collaborate on new programming. We will discuss ways to find funding to implement new initiatives or refresh spaces and technology. We will also explore how we make decisions regarding policy and programming, including methods of surveying patron needs and assessing the learning commons’ impact on teaching and learning. During our discussion, we will work to problem solve common issues together. We will also learn about others’ learning commons to help us create benchmarks and goals for our own institutions.Participants will come away with creative, practical ideas in order to reinvigorate programs at their learning commons.

Location

Hilton San Francisco Union Square - Golden Gate 5

Questions

  1. What top three innovations are you making (or planning) for your learning commons?
  2. How are you assessing the learning commons’ impact on teaching and learning?
  3. What methods have you found to fund new initiatives and/or what no-cost or low-cost programs are you trying?
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Event Information Commons Discussion Group

by ALAConnect Helpdesk (staff) on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 02:44 pm

We will gather to discuss Information (Learning) Commons issues
including planning, implementation, development, management, and others. The discussion is open to anyone interested in commons spaces. The discussion will include a range of topics pertinent to institutions considering the implementation of a commons space, to
those whose commons are just beginning, and to seasoned veterans of

We will gather to discuss Information (Learning) Commons issues
including planning, implementation, development, management, and others. The discussion is open to anyone interested in commons spaces. The discussion will include a range of topics pertinent to institutions considering the implementation of a commons space, to
those whose commons are just beginning, and to seasoned veterans of
the commons movement. Attendees are encouraged to come with questions or topics that they would like to discuss with the group. In this way, the discussion will be fulfilling for those with specific questions, and
will give an overview of commons issues to those who are new to the
idea. The group discussion will take the shape of the attendees’
interests. In addition to the topics brought by attendees, the discussion
conveners will bring a list of commons topics, related news items, and
other ideas to stimulate discussion.

More information about this conference session

More...

Discussion Notes from Info Commons Roundtable Discussion @ ALA in Las Vegas

by Carolyn Cunningham on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

ALA Annual 2014
Information Commons Roundtable Discussion
June 28, 2014

Convener: Carolyn Cunningham, University of Texas at Austin
Attendees: 40

Introductions at tables

Info Commons listserv

Visit http://listserv.binghamton.edu/scripts/wa.exe?A0=INFOCOMMONS-L to subscribe to the Info Commons listserv

Information vs Learning Commons

ALA Annual 2014
Information Commons Roundtable Discussion
June 28, 2014

Convener: Carolyn Cunningham, University of Texas at Austin
Attendees: 40

Introductions at tables

Info Commons listserv

Visit http://listserv.binghamton.edu/scripts/wa.exe?A0=INFOCOMMONS-L to subscribe to the Info Commons listserv

Information vs Learning Commons

  • Information Commons offer computers and IT support
  • Learning Commons have more student services such as tutoring, career services, and advising
  • Lippincott’s chapter, “Linking the Information Commons to Learning,” can be helpful defining commons spaces

Assessment

  • How can we measure success in a learning commons? Some folks use…
    • Gate count to library, or gates on learning commons space
    • Circulation statistics
    • Focus group feedback
    • Must react to that information
    • Observation studies are a way to supplement gate count

Planning for a Learning Commons

  • Technology can be too set in place, too stationary
  • Commons spaces need to be adaptable to group study configurations
  • Some libraries employ student assistants at service desks (e.g. iDesk) to answer questions
  • Partnerships are key to a commons
    • One group had success partnering with the Media Commons on campus (a non-library department)
    • Many places integrate the writing center into the commons
    • Reservable group study rooms are popular
    • White boards are extremely popular in collaborative spaces

Equipment checkout

  • Condition deteriorates quickly, need replacement funding available
  • Problems when checking out multiple items (e.g. digital camera with charger, SD card, connector cable)
  • Some libraries use regular circulation software to checkout, smaller places have had success using a separate binder to keep track of items
  • Yale is creating a homegrown system for checking out equipment, called “Reservations,” open source program will be made available later in the summer
  • Some places have bagged items ahead to save time
  • Receipts show mixed results, staff error in checking items in can cause problems
  • Good partnerships with IT can help here, check who last logged into a device using wifi
  • When items can be wanded with RFID to check in and out, it saves times, can be cost prohibitive
  • Bagging items with a color system can help; green means simple one or two items in bag, yellow means a few more, red means stop and count everything

Implementation of a commons space

  • Helpful to implementation in stages, there is some trial and error involved
  • Lesson learned about combining staff from different departments:
    • IT staff and librarians need to find a common ground, a shared understanding of level of service provided
    • In some situations, librarians did not like troubleshooting technological questions; one group ended up splitting up the desks, but ultimately bringing them back together
    • It is common for librarians to be taken off the desk entirely as new service models are tested with students or paraprofessionals
    • A librarian shared a success story of installing pink noise machines in the commons; students sitting at a table together can hear each other, but the collaborative noise does not travel to other areas

Success stories and lessons learned

  • Imperative to get student and faculty feedback, can help to have library director talk to academic departments, student associations, faculty senate, provosts to find out what they need and want
  • Physical librarian presence in commons maintains sense of personal service, perhaps office hours in commons
  • Could include faculty technology studio in commons to teach faculty how to use new technologies in the classroom
  • One library created a separate graduate student floor to give them their own space away from undergrads, this is where it is important to have targeted focus groups
  • Have monthly meetings with campus partners like tutoring and ITS, get more buy-in that it is their space too

 

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Event Information Commons Discussion Group

by ALAConnect Helpdesk (staff) on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 07:37 pm

We will gather to discuss Information (Learning) Commons issues including planning, implementation, development, management, and others. The discussion is open to anyone interested in commons spaces. The discussion will include a range of topics pertinent to institutions considering the implementation of a commons space, to those whose commons are just beginning, and to seasoned veterans of the commons movement. Attendees are encouraged to come with questions or topics that they would like to discuss with the group.

We will gather to discuss Information (Learning) Commons issues including planning, implementation, development, management, and others. The discussion is open to anyone interested in commons spaces. The discussion will include a range of topics pertinent to institutions considering the implementation of a commons space, to those whose commons are just beginning, and to seasoned veterans of the commons movement. Attendees are encouraged to come with questions or topics that they would like to discuss with the group. In this way, the discussion will be fulfilling for those with specific questions, and will give an overview of commons issues to those who are new to the idea.
The group discussion will take the shape of the attendees’ interests. In addition to the topics brought by attendees, the discussion conveners will bring a list of commons topics, related news items, and other ideas to stimulate discussion.

More information about this conference session

More...

Event Information Commons Discussion Group

by Carolyn Cunningham on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

Join us for the ACRL Information Commons Roundtable discussion at ALA Annual.

FORMAT: Each table will tackle commons-related issues, generate ideas, and present to the group.

DELIVERABLES: Participants will be able to make new contacts, bounce ideas off others, and will leave with at least one action item to move forward in their own space.

WRAP-UP: This roundtable aims to create community, reinforce our professional ideals, and generate new directions for commons spaces.

Join us for the ACRL Information Commons Roundtable discussion at ALA Annual.

FORMAT: Each table will tackle commons-related issues, generate ideas, and present to the group.

DELIVERABLES: Participants will be able to make new contacts, bounce ideas off others, and will leave with at least one action item to move forward in their own space.

WRAP-UP: This roundtable aims to create community, reinforce our professional ideals, and generate new directions for commons spaces.

FOLLOW-UP: I will send out notes and links to the list serv, and post to the ALA connect site.

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Event Information Commons Discussion Group

by ALAConnect Helpdesk (staff) on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 07:22 pm

We will meet to discuss issues facing Learning/Information Commons in libraries.

More information about this conference session

Discussion ALA Annual Discussion Notes and PPT

by Michael Whitchurch on Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 01:51 pm

Here we will post the minutes and files from the Discussion held at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference.

Learning Commons Discussion Group Notes

Topic: What are the roles of the Reference Librarian, paraprofessional, and student in the Information/Learning Commons? How do we ensure adequate knowledge to fulfill those roles?

Table 1

All libraries are different
Need to get buy in
One service desk with all duties shared and trained
Harness student knowledge for other services

Here we will post the minutes and files from the Discussion held at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference.

Learning Commons Discussion Group Notes

Topic: What are the roles of the Reference Librarian, paraprofessional, and student in the Information/Learning Commons? How do we ensure adequate knowledge to fulfill those roles?

Table 1

All libraries are different
Need to get buy in
One service desk with all duties shared and trained
Harness student knowledge for other services

Table 2

Roles depend on mission of library
Types of Commons and service points define the roles
IT vs. Library culture; try to find commons ground
Colocation of services at one desk
Desk performs triage

Table 3

Institutional context is important to knowing roles
Accurate referral is essential
IT vs. Library
Use of graduate students at desk or other service points, if they are available

Table 4

Individualized service model to each institution and library
Culture of the library and the university is important to consider when developing services
All library workers need training, especially those who work in public spaces
We need to remember that there will always be some patrons that prefer the “old style” library

Table 5

When a commons is implemented we should seriously consider rearranging staffing
Reference collections are typically not found in a commons, but could be beneficial
Referrals to librarians do not work well, partially due to the added step
Who controls what (budgets, etc.)? IT vs. Library
                There should be a single manager over all commons services
No one has all the answers

Table 6

Assessment of services is essential
Merging reference desks should be considered—“one stop” with tiered reference with on-call librarians
The role of librarian is changing because information seeking is changing
                The way we answer needs to adapt/change
                We need to be more flexible with changing job requirements

Table 7

Staffing depends on the needs of the users and the space served

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Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Commons Discussion Group

 

 

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