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Designing Libraries to Support Community College Students

Among the growing number of ethnographic studies of college students, only a tiny number look at students on community college campuses, and even fewer look specifically at how these students do their academic work and use the library. But community college students constitute an enormous and important group. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 7.2 million of the 20.5 million undergraduates in the US are enrolled in…

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Reflections on Ethnographic Studies in a Community College Library System

Montgomery College, the community college of Montgomery County, Maryland, has made an enormous contribution to the study of libraries in community colleges with a series of reports about ethnographic studies on all three of its campuses.[1] Tanner Wray, Director of College Libraries and Information Services, led the studies, which gathered information from students and faculty members on how …


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Making Space in the Library for New Pedagogies

Academic librarians, seeing changes in teaching and learning at their institutions, seek to understand these changes and ensure that their spaces, services, and resources respond accordingly. They ask what is different about the work habits and library needs of students in “flipped” and other kinds of active learning classes. By gathering information on new teaching and learning patterns and practices, they will be better equipped to highlight relevant services, develop…

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Reconfiguring Auburn University’s Main Library for Engaged Active Student Learning

Introduction The effects of technological innovation have been rapid, significant, and well documented, and libraries have responded to changes in the way people read, communicate, and do research by providing digital content and renovating buildings so that they support new, technology-enhanced ways of work. But what about teaching and learning? More and more colleges and universities provide “hybrid” courses, “flipped” …


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The Protolib Project at the University of Cambridge, Part 2

In my last blog post I wrote about the final report on the Protolib Project, which the Cambridge University Library released in April.[1] The Protolib Project, part of the Futurelib initiative at the University of Cambridge, was led by Sue Mehrer, Deputy Librarian, and included extensive participation by librarians and library staff as well as Modern Human, a design consultancy in Cambridge, England. David Marshall, Jenny Willatt, Paul-Jervis Heath, Chloe Heath, and…

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The Protolib Project at the University of Cambridge, Part 1

Cambridge University Library has released a wonderful report about the Protolib Project, an effort, its title states, at “researching and reimagining library environments at the University of Cambridge.”[1] Protolib is one of several projects by an initiative called Futurelib,[2] which has also released a report on Spacefinder, an app that enables students to find just the right place to work in Cambridge’s rich and sometimes confusing array of libraries and…

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The Library as Distraction Barricade

We often think of the library as a service, space, and resource provider but could there be value in the library serving as a withholder? The recent report by Cornell University librarians, published by Ithaka S+R, “A Day in the Life of a (Serious) Researcher,” makes the bold suggestion that libraries could help patrons by ensuring that they are free from digital distractions when they work, such as by creating…

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On Non-Traditional College Students, Libraries and “Family Space”

The majority of college students are now what are considered “non-traditional,” meaning, they are over the age of 24, commute to campus, work part-time or full-time, are financially dependent, and/or have children. As a previous Ithaka S+R blog post by Jessie Brown highlights, this demographic trend necessitates policy shifts that better reflect that non-traditional students are now the “typical” students in higher education. Academic libraries are one such area of higher…

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Preservation on Display at University of Chicago's Mansueto Library

One of the best things about the Association of Research Libraries spring meetings is that they are held in different parts of the country and hosted by member libraries in these areas. This year’s meeting was held in Chicago, and even though we met in the Downtown Marriott, we were transported by bus on the evening of Wednesday, May 4 to the University of Chicago for a reception and tour…

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