Thursday, May 7, 2009

Creating Informed Library Spaces Through User-Focused Discovery and Assessment

Creating Informed Library Spaces Through User-Focused Discovery and Assessment

The Georgia Tech Library has created two award-winning commons spaces and is in the final design process for a third commons. With each project, the Library has continued to refine its methods of incorporating user input in designing spaces and then assessing the effectiveness of those designs. The transparent and inclusive nature of this process has won praise and has helped create spaces that truly meet the evolving needs of end users.

Speaker: Bob Fox is the Associate Director for Public and Administrative Services at Georgia Tech University

The library already had two award winning commons. The new area is open 24/5 Sunday through Friday. Some features: Multimedia studio, productivity clusters with 85 workstations, collaborative computing, a rehearsal studio, a presentation area with fliptop tables on wheels which can be configured for collaboration or to maximize available space. No set furniture, even in the theatre area. Even soft seating has wheels.

Reference is in the East Commons now. Circulation desk moved over to the tower. Librarians assigned to this area are a little more software and hardware savvy. There's a training boot camp for library assistants. . 10pm-2am are peak times of use.

Library West Commons and Multimedia studio.

Examples of engagement:

They have been engaging their students on Facebook Georgia Tech Library We're working on a visual identity for the library. We'd like your feedback.

Make your mark on the GT Library!

We need your help. The George Tech Library is looking for a visual identity. Send us your original sketches, graphics, logos, symbols, or any other ideas that can be used online, in print, and in the Library...

They have a student advisory board of 8-10 students. They try to recruit student leaders. Current board members can nominate their sucessors. They meet twice a week.

They are reluctant to put up online survey because students hate to be interrupted with popups. Though here's one

During construction, they keep students up to date on availability

Real-time availability map:


Available: 82

In-use: 3

Unavailable: 4


Available: 21

In-use: 15

Unavailable: 0

The held about 30 focus groups

The Georgia Tech website has a number of planning documents available including Herman Miller case study overhead grid system and focus groups.

After the spaces are used, they did yearly then longitudinal observational studies. 4 times per day to document where students were and if they were using a laptop or mobile device. Students did a DVD chronicling the development of the commons area zones.

They relocated IT help into the library resource center and more students used the area, brought in their laptops etc. than when the help desk was located over in IT. Usage is up and collaboration is alive and well at Georgia Tech.


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