November 29, 2010

KSL Announces New Initiatives to Boost Library’s Research, Learning, Social Environment

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Kelvin Smith Library

If you thought the university library was a sleepy, traditional place, think again.

The staff at the Kelvin Smith Library has been busy this semester developing a number of initiatives and pilot programs designed to improve the research, learning and social environment for students and faculty.

“These facility changes, along with the student design competition, should elevate KSL as a campus locus of intellectual and social interaction,” says Arnold Hirshon, associate provost and university librarian. “We will soon launch our strategic planning process. The aim is that collectively all of these initiatives will result in wider engagement by the campus community. Through our pilot projects and the student competition, we will also create a low-cost ‘live laboratory’ that will provide practical information to inform our strategic directions while those discussions are still in the formative stages.”

One initiative is a student competition to redesign the library’s first floor. Students are invited to create teams that will (1) study the needs of undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff; (2) develop a basis of design and program plan; and, (3) present the proposed plan to a panel that will evaluate proposals for their creativity, cost-effectiveness, practicality, and sustainability. Teams that submit the best proposals could earn up to  $2,500. Interested participants are encouraged to attend information sessions at KSL Dec. 2 at 10 a.m., Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. and Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. Statements of intent to submit a proposal will be due Jan. 21. The final proposals will be due March 14, with evaluation sessions held soon after. An overview of this initiative and copies of the full request for proposal can be found on the KSL website.

As the library looks to re-envision the first floor to create a vibrant community and intellectual atmosphere, it also is planning to open a full-service café. Current plans call for the café to open in January or early February. The café will offer food and beverage options for lunch, dinner and snacking. All members of the university community are invited to submit nominations to name the café, and the winning entry will receive an award. Nominations may be submitted online and are due by Dec. 8 at 5 p.m.

Hirshon says the library is dedicated to meeting the needs of the campus community. To that end, KSL is piloting a “research commons” program.

“KSL is creating a research commons as a dedicated space to meet the specialized needs of graduate students and faculty and to create a research and social atmosphere conducive to advanced research,” he says.

For the spring semester, the Flora Stone Mather Room on the second floor of KSL will become the home of the research commons, and access to the room will be available only to faculty and graduate students. Based upon the experience during the semester, Hirshon says, KSL will evaluate the results of the pilot program and determine other possible changes geared toward meeting faculty and graduate student needs.

Additionally, the library is creating a pilot faculty study space. For the spring semester, KSL will reassign and convert an existing group study room on the lower level to provide dedicated carrel space for six faculty members. This room will be accessible only to the individuals who have an assigned carrel in the room, and the carrel assignment will only be through the end of the spring semester. A complete description of the pilot program is available on the KSL website. Any full-time faculty member interested in securing a space must complete the online lottery form by Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. Those who are assigned a carrel will be notified shortly thereafter. The pilot program will be re-evaluated at the end of the academic year to determine appropriate next steps.

Posted by: David Wilson, November 29, 2010 09:19 AM | News Topics:

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