Joint Meeting of the Library Student Resource Group & Information Technology Student Advisory Board
February 20 2013
Present: Vidal Anguiano*, Adreanne Breton, Darrel Chia, Doug Everson*, Jamie Wan Wen Huang*, Evan Kuehn, Julia Sizek, Zhui Wang, Kevin Zhang*, Michael Zhao* (* = ITS Advisory Board members)
From IT Services: Paul Bergen, Kaylea Champion
From the Library:Judi Nadler (chair), David Borycz, Rebecca Starkey, James Vaughan, Rachel Rosenberg, John Kimbrough
Welcome to the first joint meeting of the Library Student Resource Group (LSRG) and the Information Technology Student Advisory Board (ITAB), two groups of students that advise the Library and IT Services, respectively.
The reading room space in the A-Level of Regenstein has served many different purposes since the library opened. Recent uses include housing the Library's 24-hour study space (now on the first floor of Regenstein) and providing swing space for the 2011-2012 Regenstein collections move. For several years the Department of Computer Science's Instructional Laboratories (aka the MacLab) have been located in room A-01 in the NE corner of the A-Level, and there are also two workstations with assistive technology in rooms A-01A and A-01B.
Pending funding approval, the MacLab will move to Crerar in summer 2013. This move will provide the MacLab with more physical space, provide the MacLab with an opportunity to extend its staffing hours, and promote natural affinities between the MacLab and the science collections and services at Crerar. The Library and IT Services are together exploring how the A-Level might be reconfigured post-move to provide spaces for student learning, collaboration, and engagement with technology. We'd like the input of ITAB and the LSRG: what sort of spaces and furniture would you like to see in a future A-Level? (At the meeting, we showed examples of different types of spaces, including many from the Learning Space Toolkit.)
What sort of space do people prefer? Open or enclosed?
- LSRG/ITAB members said a mix of spaces would be be helpful: sometimes groups need to work in enclosed spaces without distractions.
- Stanford's model, with moveable walls, is nice because it allows people to define their own spaces.
- The cubicles formerly on the A-Level were a nice size for most groups.
- Big tables, like on the upper floors, are nice.
- We need a little more space than a typical "square" table (e.g., in a cafe) that seats 4 people.
- Don't do curvy or "wave" space; it's difficult to use.
- Having a variety of spaces is key, because students have different patterns of study.
- Both cubicles and open tables are important -- for different types of work.
The Library, said Judi, should (and does) offer a variety of study spaces.
- Many LSRG/ITAB members advocated for whiteboards -- they aren't just used for equations and collaborative work! Even students working alone often use whiteboards (e.g., for paper outlining).
- Whiteboards were strongly preferred over chalkboards (less dust and easier to use)
- Having whiteboard space that's both private and shareable, where students can do their own work but be easily collaborative when the need arises -- would be very helpful.
- Writeable glass walls generated a mixed reaction: it might be nice to have more writing area by using both sides, but it could get difficult to see what was written.
- Writeable tables could be helpful.
Many learning spaces feature large displays, some with touchscreen or other interactive functionality. We know patrons desire large displays, but what are these used for? Is the interactivity important?
- Small groups (4-8 people) would really benefit from having a display everyone could look at.
- Multi-touch and interactivity is a nice feature, but not a necessity. Having lots of iPads available would better serve this purpose.
- We need to make sure that video adapters are available (at the TECHB@R, for example), and that it's easy to hook up a laptop to the display.
Do there need to be computers on the A-Level? If so, what kind and what software should be installed?
- The A-Level is already wired for computer use, so it would be easy to install computers in the MacLab space.
- The computers on the upper floors all seem in use at peak times -- please don't completely get rid of the computing resources on the A-Level.
- LSRG/ITAB members used both desktops and laptops: having both available would be nice, because then we wouldn't have to bring devices to the Library.
- Computers with two screens would be helpful, but having workstations with 2 computers would be even better. Sometime having the additional computing power can be helpful.
- A 2-screen setup is useful for many types of studying (e.g., one can write a paper on one screen and do research on the second monitor).
- Please keep the software packages currently available on the "USITE server" -- and provide some workstations that could run these applications, because the personal machines of many students don't have enough computing power to run advanced software.
- It would be helpful to have "docking" stations where students could easily plug in their laptops and use a big monitor and full-size keyboard.
- Many students have heavily customized/personalized laptops -- with devices available for checkout, you lose a lot of this optimization.
What other hardware and software would you like to see in the A-Level?
- Cameras would be great
- iPads or tablets would be more helpful than a giant interactive display
- Promote what's already available at the TECHB@R -- maybe table tents or posters advertising, "working in a group? Check out an iPad!" or other such messages in the area
- Recording technology (to capture what's written on a whiteboard) would be great, but it would need to be simple and work with lots of devices.
- Perhaps a setup where a built-in camera is mounted so it can photograph the whiteboard?
Presentation Practice Space
Would a space to practice presentations (equipped with a projector for displaying slides and a camera for recording) be useful?
- A big space like this feels less useful that 2-3 smaller group spaces (in the equivalent amount of space).
- Potential users of this space would be (a) RSOs practicing proposals and (b) grad students practicing conference talks.
- Instead of being fixed in one space, how about circulating the camera at the TECHB@R, so it can be taken to any available space? (Sure.)
- Are the lockers on the A-Level all rented?
- If the A-Level ever reverted to 24-hour study space, the lockers would become highly desired (they would be the only lockers accessible late at night)
- Perhaps have shared lockers on the A-Level?
- NYU has "mobys" -- mobile lockers that can be moved around the building.
Other A-Level Comments and Questions
- Will the A-Level ever (re)open as 24-hour study space?
- We envision the first floor of Regenstein as the 24-hour study space. Data show that, after 2am or so, the first floor isn't heavily used during most weeks except at midterms and finals.
- Opening another floor of Regenstein during late night has both budget and security implications.
- Installing whiteboards in the 24-hour study space (either first floor or A-Level) would make the space more popular.
- Rolling, height-adjustable chairs would be great.
- Soft seating might be nice, but not "too soft" or it will turn into napping space. (The first floor chairs seem to have a nice balance in this regard.)
- More power outlets please!
- It'd be helpful if the outlets could handle large plugs (e.g., cell phone chargers)
- Maybe outlets that have both standard electrical power and USB ports? Or provide USB chargers for checkout from the TECHB@R?
- One library has power cords suspended from the ceiling.
Regenstein Multi-Purpose Room
After discussing the A-Level, the LSRG and ITAB went upstairs for a tour of the new multi-purpose room (under construction on the first floor).
Next Meeting and Future Topics
The next LSRG meeting will take place in Spring Quarter (date TBD).
Please send Rebecca any suggestions for future topic ideas. If you have suggestions, or further comments on any topic discussed today, feedback can be sent to our list: lsrg@lib.