Libraries Use Summer to Think Space
Over the summer break, the University of Texas Libraries continued efforts to transform outmoded library spaces to meet the needs of modern users.
Most notable to patrons entering the Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) will be the ground-level combined service desk that fills the space where the circulation desk formerly resided. The Research Help & Check Out service point combines services previously provided by two separate desks — the Information & Research Help desk and the Check Out desk, situated on opposite sides of the PCL Lobby.
“The merging of these service points is intended to expedite and improve the user experience, an objective that has been the project’s guiding principle,” says Jenifer Flaxbart, head of Reference & Information Services (RIS) and one of the project’s facilitators.
Initially funded as a design concept through an internal Imagination & Innovation grant in mid-2012, the project later obtained funding, and a dedicated group of Access Services and RIS staff has since been working with local design firm Edwards + Mulhausen since January 2013 to conceptualize the single service point.
By co-locating person-to-person services, users will have immediate access to a range of resources including access to subject specialists, research assistance, directional information, reserve items, check out and other circulation services and resources obtained via InterLibrary Services.
The ability to address a broad range of transaction-based needs will allow Libraries staff to save users’ time, increase efficiency and enhance the experience of students, faculty, staff and visitors to PCL.
Another renovated area that will be noteworthy to our regular student patrons is on the 5th floor of PCL, the main space in the library dedicated to collaborative study. The development of the space was necessitated by the expressed desire for students to have a communal-use study space that encourages creativity through collaboration.
The Collaborative Commons spans the length of the window wall on 5th floor overlooking the heart of campus in a color-drenched space with open-area technology access (three first-come, first-served media:scape units), additional outlets (made possible via Connectrac), additional mobile white boards and fun, flexible furniture. In total, the space introduces about 150 additional seats and 150 additional outlets.
“We’re hopeful that the new look, additional power supply, modern furnishings and embedded technology will better meet students’ need to interact and work together, inspire academic originality and foster a sense of community in Libraries’ space,” says Flaxbart.
The Libraries will officially unveil the transformed spaces at an open house — “Think Space” — taking place in PCL at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 27. The event is free and open to the public.