6. Libraries are the intellectual commons where users interact with ideas in both physical and virtual environments to expand learning and facilitate the creation of new knowledge.
6.1 The Library creates intuitive navigation that supports self-sufficient use of virtual and physical spaces 6.2 The Library provides safe and secure physical and virtual environments conducive to study and research 6.3 The Library has the IT infrastructure to provide reliable and robust virtual and physical environments needed for study and research 6.4 The Library uses physical and virtual spaces as intellectual commons, providing access to programs, exhibits, lectures, and more 6.5 The Library designs pedagogical spaces to facilitate collaboration and learning, and the creation of new knowledge 6.6 The Library's physical space features connectivity and up-to-date, adequate, well-maintained equipment and furnishings 6.7 The Library provides clean, inviting, and adequate space, conducive to study and research, with suitable environmental conditions and convenient hours for its services, personnel, resources, and collections 6.8 The Library's physical and virtual spaces are informed by consultation with users
Library personnel have made improvements and continue to monitor the way students and other researchers navigate and use the Library’s building, resources, and services.
In terms of technology, the Library’s website redesign was a noteworthy effort to improve navigation of this research instrument, including an off-campus login on the Library homepage. The Library’s website was upgraded for mobile accessibility. The ongoing commitment to appropriate technologies is evident in the provision of newer and faster computers, a stable wireless network, large screen monitors and computers in most of the group study rooms, public laptops for checkout and in-Library use, accommodative software for persons with disabilities, and specialized course software. A modest media creation space is currently available.
The Library has addressed minor episodic security problems regarding its physical space with quick fixes, such as alerts for students to be mindful of unattended items in an attempt to deter thefts. Secure practices are in place for patron information. The building’s signage has been improved, and practices for letting Library staff and faculty know the location of specialized software are in place.
In the first three years of this review period, the Library made prominent efforts to make student-centered use of the Library’s physical space. This repurposing of collection spaces to study spaces was one of the Library’s top two priorities during this period. The print Periodicals, Government Documents, and Reference collections were significantly condensed, and the Curriculum and Juvenile/Young Adult collections were moved, in order to create more open study spaces. Through relocating personnel offices and emptying storage rooms, several rooms were transformed into group study rooms, which are always in high demand. Over the review period the number of desktop computers increased from about 260 to about 300. A central location for computers with scanners and color printers and two ‘study bars’ created from the former reference desks were added. During this review period the Library made major investments in upholstered furniture, carpeting, and computers to improve the physical space. Between the newer furniture and the existing carrels and large study tables, students and other researchers have many different kinds of study space from which to choose. Although the Library is not open 24/7, the hours have been allocated to peak activity times. The building provides a convenient central location for an intellectual commons, and is used by the University for a variety of academic purposes such as lectures and trainings. The building has also afforded some practical utilizations; for example, hosting other University offices during renovations on campus.
Alternate study space is still needed for peak times. To address this need, colleagues in Student Affairs have collaborated over the last two years with the Director of Library Services to provide additional study spaces on campus during finals week. As a result of the collaborative work between the Library and Student Affairs, students’ access to study space for finals week has grown considerably over the last two years.
Based on various forms of feedback, many patrons are pleased with the Library’s use of physical space. The major moves seem to be done, but the Library will continue to solicit and observe feedback on physical space to match confluences of instructional needs, information resources, technological advantages, and students’ habits.
6.1 The Library creates intuitive navigation that supports self-sufficient use of virtual and physical spaces.
During the review period the Library’s website underwent a major redesign and a software upgrade. A mobile version of the website was also introduced that automatically adapts to any size mobile device screen. In terms of website design, a judicious number of key starting points were placed on the homepage to create a good start to researchers’ experience. An example of this selection of specially designed starting points is the Off Campus Access link. Commonly accessed information like building hours are also prominently linked. The Library’s catalog includes a service to text call numbers of books and other materials to students. These texts contain additional location information including the collection and floor on which the item resides. Most recently, the EBSCO Discovery Search (EDS) was limited to materials held at Andruss Library and renamed Search Everything @ BU.
LibGuides CMS provides alternative pages for screen readers and hidden skip-to-navigation links for patrons using adaptive technologies. Testing of individual webpages for ADA compliance remains to be done. More information may be found at LibGuides ADA compliance link.
The Library has an appropriate amount of signage to direct researchers to important locations, services, and alerts; earlier in the review period it was necessary to remove or update signage to reflect the many moves of materials, people, and services. The building has numerous open spaces for researchers to congregate or simply relax. The Library has taken accommodative services into account; the building is ADA compliant with accommodative software on a dedicated computer for those with visual impairments and a dedicated room for accommodative services, for an individual or a group. The Circulation Desk staff are prominently located at the entrance to the building and near the elevators and main stairwell, and therefore well situated to direct people throughout the building.
To further support students’ gaining an understanding of navigating and significant landmarks within the Library, the Library also offers the General Library Research Tutorial (GLRT) and the video tour of the building; these are posted on the website. Floor maps are located on the Library’s website and near the building elevators.
In the 2012 LibQUAL survey students reported a lack of confidence in their ability to navigate the Library’s website independently. A Library task force completed a website redesign with those concerns in mind. Based on informal student comments during and after instruction, students report a better user experience with the Library’s web site.
Students and faculty have benefitted from the EDS (Search Everything @ BU) being limited to locally-held items, thereby making it easier to access materials, and requests for non-requestable items have gone down. Another improvement that has simplified on-campus research is patrons are able to text call numbers to themselves to easily locate materials.
Students and other researchers can independently navigate the building through accurate signage and human guidance.
6.2 The Library provides safe and secure physical and virtual environments conducive to study and research.
There is professional staff in the building during all open hours. The building is well lit and has good lines of sight. All group study rooms have large windows to, again, maintain good lines of sight. There are emergency phones throughout the building, and administrative protocols are in place for emergencies (e.g. building evacuation). In selected locations, there are security cameras with monitors at the Circulation Desk or with digital recording. Reminders to protect personal property from theft are posted on digital signage.
As a result of new Pennsylvania state law enacted to protect children, all University employees, regular and student, have completed child abuse clearances.
All sensitive information and services, including Interlibrary Loan, and private network drives, are password protected. Borrowing records are restricted to Access Services regular and student staff; all student staff must sign a confidentiality agreement as part of their employment. Borrowing records of patrons, aligning patron to title, are expunged upon the return of the title.
Students and other researchers have access to a safe and secure learning environment in the Library building. In fact students have felt so at ease that they have left personal belongings unattended; when students reported a series of thefts of unattended cell phone, textbooks, and other belongings in 2013, reminders to protect personal property were posted. With the help of the student newspaper and the campus police, the community was alerted and a suspect was arrested.
Students and other researchers’ borrowing and identity information is protected and handled in accordance with the ALA Bill of Rights and University rules on digital security.
6.3 The Library has the IT infrastructure to provide reliable and robust virtual and physical environments needed for study and research.
The Library uses the Keystone Library Network (KLN) Hub, a consortial network support, for remote authentication to its online resources. The University maintains power and digital connectivity.
Approximately 300 computers are available to students and other researchers; no other location on campus provides as many. In addition 20 laptops are available for checkout. These laptops and researchers’ personal devices may access the wireless network. Scanners, color printers, specialized software for coursework, and accommodative software for persons with disabilities are available. Almost all of the group study rooms have a computer and large-screen monitors.
The Library’s network and systems are maintained by the University Technology Support Services. Desktop support for Library staff and faculty is provided by skilled student workers housed within the building and a University computer helpline. Computer support for students and other researchers is provided by student workers.
Funding for most computers and software is provided by the Office of Technology and Library Services.
Students and other researchers have a reliable network to use for connecting to online resources and creating new work.
Students and other researchers have access within the Library to hardware and software that is generally sufficient. When the 2012 LibQUAL survey revealed dissatisfaction with slow computers, a third of the computers were replaced with faster models; this action was appreciated in that preliminary results from the 2015 LibQUAL survey show an absence of complaints about computer speed.
The campus administration demonstrates support through appropriate resource allocation for hardware and software and through maintenance of digital connectivity.
Students use the computing resources at the Library frequently.
6.4 The Library uses physical and virtual spaces as intellectual commons, providing access to programs, exhibits, lectures, and more.
The Library building is used often to advance the University’s intellectual life. The University’s main meeting room, the Schweiker Room, is frequently used by the University for committee meetings, the Writing Center evening tutoring sessions, Friends of the Bloomsburg University Library Association book sales, film screenings, art displays, and other campus events. Similarly, the Library’s Instruction Room, when not being used for information literacy instruction or for open work space, is used by other entities on campus for academic and/or professional instruction and training. The Library’s conference rooms have been used for meetings and a book discussion series. Other campus entities such as the Writing Center, Writing Fellows, the Teaching and Learning Enhancement (TALE) Center, and the Instructional Media and Design Center (for support for faculty’s online course management system needs and students’ automated response system/‘clicker’ needs) are included in the Library building.
The physical spaces are enhanced with themed displays of artifacts on University or local history, artwork exhibited throughout the Library, and digital signage with news alerts and promotions for campus events. The Library occasionally offers workshops, often in conjunction with TALE, to audiences to promote a new service, examine an issue related to Library research, or examine the history of the University. Presentations and programs have been held in conjunction with the University’s 175th anniversary and through sponsorship of the Friends of the Bloomsburg University Library Association (FOBULA).
Virtual exhibits expand the reach of the Library’s programming. Some of these online exhibits correspond to physical exhibits, programs, and events, while others treat independent topics. Furthermore, the Library’s home page provides a virtual starting point for campus community research.
Students, professors, and administration use the Library building frequently to advance the intellectual life of the University.
Alumni, the campus community, and the community at large often use the Library’s virtual space to further their connections with the University and their study of local history.
Faculty and students benefit from the Library’s home page because they are able to easily access many resources and get assistance in one space.
6.5 The library designs pedagogical spaces to facilitate collaboration and learning, and the creation of new knowledge.
The Library’s Classroom (AL 243), when not in use for instruction, doubles as additional computer work space for students and others. It provides a lecture-style setup, with large front screen and instructor station, and short rows to facilitate small group work. With a capacity of 38 persons, it is flexible enough to accommodate small and large classes. Because the Library classroom offers the largest number of computers in one room on campus, it is in high demand by faculty and administration. Printers are close by.
The Library provides a variety of study spaces and zones that support collaboration and learning. The first floor provides large study tables, a collaborative study bar, and a cluster of scanners and color printers for collaborative creation; collaboration and conversation is encouraged on this floor. The second floor has individual and collaborative study spaces, a collaborative study bar, and a mix of large tables and individual carrels. Students have additional computer work space at the ‘study bars’ created from the former reference and information desks; by adding some wooden stools and a few computers, these substantial desks were put to good use at fairly low cost. The third and fourth floors have a mix of collaborative group study rooms and individual carrels. By design and practice, the upper floors are places of greater quiet.
The Library has the most group study rooms of all of the libraries in the State System and more than many larger institutions (see Appendix A). In addition it has the most group study rooms per student full-time-equivalent (FTE) compared to other schools in the State System. In response to student feedback on LibQUAL surveys, the Library has, over time, converted spaces to create additional group study rooms and added two free-standing group study cubicles.
The Library has a Graduate Student/Faculty Study Room with computers, a printer, and a whiteboard.
The Library provides ancillary tools, such as rolling white boards and markers, to support students’ group studies and conferencing. The Library also provides some office services, such as lamination and faxing as well as printing overhead transparencies for student projects.
Students, as well as Library faculty and subject faculty, have access to a classroom space and technology that encourages collaboration and facilitates learning. Students have the freedom to select from a variety of workspaces to suit the needs of their studies and collaborative projects. Students use these spaces heavily and often ask for more. The Andruss Library is in the enviable and challenging situation of having significantly more group study rooms (32) than its PASSHE counterparts (Millersville University has the second highest number at 14) or even much larger institutions (Towson University has one), as well as students who have correspondingly high expectations of securing a group study room on each visit. For the last three years, in-Library signage and presentations at student government meetings have been utilized to encourage student patrons to ask for assistance in finding a group study room; these actions have resulted in fewer reported incidents involving student-to-student frustration.
Administration supports the Library’s efforts to create and retain student collaborative learning space; this was demonstrated when recent construction plans were modified to ensure that the first floor study space was preserved.
6.6 The Library’s physical space features connectivity and up-to-date, adequate, well-maintained equipment and furnishings.
Wireless access, including wireless printing capability, is available throughout the building. Approximately one third of the Library’s computers are just two years old; all computers, for patrons and Library faculty and staff, are on a regular four-year replacement schedule.
In 2012 the Library made major investments in furnishings for the public areas, including upholstered furniture, low tables, and two group study cubicles. Soft seating with wheels and foldout writing surfaces, and beanbag chairs were purchased. In 2013 the carpeting on a large area of the first floor was replaced.
The Library’s public-use technology includes printers, scanners, microfilm scanners, digital microfilm scanners, photocopiers, laptops, and color printers; these are replaced and kept up to date. Service contracts are in place for regular and ad hoc maintenance. Students also have access to a fax machine and laminator through the Circulation Desk.
JAWS, an accommodative software for students and other patrons with disabilities, is available and kept up to date.
Students and other patrons have access to up-to-date computers, a third of which were replaced two years ago.
Students and other patrons use a variety of comfortable, safe, well-lit seating areas for study and group work. Students appreciate the diversity and mobility of the furnishings. Students freely arrange furniture to fit their groups’ configurations and comfort levels. Students have informally, and favorably, commented on the comfort of the soft seating, and particularly the bean bag chairs, and the open study areas.
Students and other patrons have access to adequate and convenient technology, such as scanners and color printers that support students’ knowledge creation.
Students and other patrons with disabilities use accommodative software in order to access the Library’s materials.
6.7 The Library provides clean, inviting, and adequate space, conducive to study and research, with suitable environmental conditions and convenient hours for its services, personnel, resources, and collections.
The study environment in the Library is clean, well-lit, and well maintained. The building has designated areas for conversation and group work as well as areas for individual quiet study. The air conditioning and heat are satisfactory for the most part. The Library works with University Facilities to address leaks and water seepage.
The Library has 290 well-maintained individual study carrels, 174 of which have computers. Additionally, the Library offers 32 group study rooms (one is currently in use as an office due to construction); 22 large tables, each with six chairs; and 79 soft seating units for student collaboration and study.
The Library is open for a total of 98 weekly public service hours. The Library faculty provide research assistance from 11 AM to 9 PM Monday through Thursday, with additional hours Friday through Sunday. The main service desk for the building, the Circulation Desk, is staffed every hour that the building is open. The Library is open even when classes are cancelled, and selected Library personnel are considered Essential Personnel in order to keep the Library open and functioning in these circumstances. After consultation with student government representatives, the Library began offering later hours on Friday evening during the regular semester—closing at 7pm instead of 4:30pm—and extended weekend hours for two weeks at the end of the semester to accommodate students preparing for final exams and projects.
Regular Fall and Spring Semester hours are:
Monday through Thursday – 7:30am to 12midnight
Friday – 7:30am to 7pm
Saturday – 9am to 5pm
Sunday – 12noon to 12midnight
Late night study space is available Sunday through Wednesday evenings from 12 midnight until 2 am in two front lobby spaces that can be secured separately after the main building closes. Students provide their own computers for late night studying, and the Library provides student worker monitors for the space.
The Library has collaborated with the Student Affairs in the last two years to provide extra study spaces on campus during finals week (Kehr Union and Monty’s).
Students and other patrons heavily use the building, with a gate count of around 30,000 for a typical week for 2013-14, an increase from around 15,000 in 2010-11, according to Academic Libraries Survey data, with a similar enrollment of about 10,000 students in the Fall semesters of those two academic years. While the gate count process is not wholly reliable, direct observation and recollection from Access Services staff indicate that the traffic into the building increased considerably over the review period.
The individual study carrels, as well as the group study rooms and tables, are heavily used by students and other patrons.
Although there is always a demand for 24/7 service, patrons have access to 98 hours per week of operation, plus extended study hours at the end of the semester. Based on headcounts taken for the Friday evenings and observation by the late-night student workers, students use the extended hours on Friday evenings and the late night hours, with traffic being light until the middle of the semester.
As a result of the collaborative work between the Library and Student Affairs, students’ access to study space for finals week has grown considerably over the last two years. Following a discussion of student needs, Student Affairs personnel designated space, and together the Library and Student Affairs advertised the new options through posters and social media. The amount of floor space made available in activity and large meeting rooms within the student union building on main campus and in similar spaces on upper campus exceeded what was available in the larger open common study spaces within the Andruss Library building. In feedback forms and through headcount rosters, students indicated their appreciation and use of the extra study space made available by Student Affairs during finals week. The number of students using the additional study space has grown steadily over the two years the spaces have been available. Students appreciated particularly the quieter atmosphere in the Student Affairs spaces. In Fall 2015, in a move outside of the review period but showing a further outcome of the partnership, Student Affairs was able to make a secured section of the student union building accessible 24/7 during finals week, and this step was well-received by students.
6.8 The Library’s physical and virtual spaces are informed by consultation with users.
The Library has actively solicited input through a number of avenues and has responded to this feedback. Researchers may leave comments using the online Suggestion Box. Whiteboards have been used at the entrance to the Library for informal suggestions. The Library collected data and comments from students, faculty, and staff using the LibQUAL survey twice during the review period. The Library recently ran a new LibQUAL survey in Fall 2015, for which data is still pending. The 2012 LibQUAL survey feedback was analyzed for themes and posted on the Library blog in a special topic section entitled, “You Spoke. We Listened.” In addition, these responses were available through the Library’s website and were also displayed on the Library’s large screen televisions.
The Library has been responsive to the Library Advisory Committee (LAC), and the student and community government association. Students and subject faculty have representation on the LAC, which was heavily involved with crafting the Library’s Mission Statement.
The Library personnel have benefitted from the feedback because it gives both confidence and direction for how to proceed. Students and other patrons benefit from the improvements they suggest based upon their experiences.
Students and other patrons have confidence in the Library’s personnel to make changes based on their feedback. LibQUAL responses indicate a high level of confidence; the two statements rated most highly were: 1) Employees who instill confidence in users and 2) Readiness to respond to users' questions. The LibQUAL response sample has been excellent, with a valid sample of 1493 responses in 2012, and 1268 in 2009, indicating an expectation that feedback will be forthcoming.
For the first three years of this review period, the Library Advisory Committee was a committee in name only and did not meet. Under the leadership of the new Director of Library Services, the Committee has been revitalized with regular meetings, enthusiastic participation, and idea exchange with Library faculty and administration, subject faculty, and students. As a result, it is a highly inclusive and active body. Library Advisory Committee members attend regularly and make contributions.
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