Library? Learning Commons? What?! YES

Last winter I took a new course from the iSchool at the University of Washington. It was Marketing and Planning for Libraries — taught by Lisa Fraser. During the course, Lisa had people from different areas of marketing and libraries come in and talk to us. We were a small class, so the discussion was rich and intimate.

Throughout the entire quarter, we kept hearing similar “key points” to marketing a library:
outreach — reach out to (insert any sort of group or organization here) outside of the library
listen to the people who use the library (AND who don’t use it)
– be willing and able to change

This summer, I found myself wrapped into a conversation about how academic libraries are changing and I thought back to one week when Kristen Shuyler came and talked with us during class. She is a librarian at Seattle University where the library just underwent a complete renovation. It recently opened and is now the Lemieux Library & McGoldrick Learning Commons. Kristen touched on all three key points to marketing the library, but what captured my attention the most was the simple idea of welcoming other academic resources into the library and creating a learning commons.

When I was doing my undergraduate study at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, we had several wonderful opportunities for academic enrichment.
– extensive library and helpful librarians
– academic enhancement center
– writing center
– speech and communications help
– math and science tutor
– foreign language conversations

None of these resources were located in the same building. We had to trek across campus (insert complaint about how cold and windy northern Minnesota can be in the winter here). Not only that, running back and forth across campus just isn’t as efficient as it could be. It is like going to a web site and being sent to seven other web pages before finding exactly what you need. Not user-friendly.

How fantastic would it be to have students walk into a building or visit one web site and have the library, writing center, math lab, learning assistance, and research center’s resources all in one place? That’s pretty much what a learning commons is. Check out Seattle University’s here! I’m in!


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