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A Library Instead of a Lab: Forging a Space Partnership in a New Building

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Evolving Engineering Libraries: Services, Spaces, and Collections

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.54.1 - 22.54.9



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Paper Authors


Jeff McAdams University of Texas, San Antonio Orcid 16x16

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Jeff McAdams graduated with a Bachelor's of General Studies from The University of Kansas and a Masters of Library and Information Science from Emporia State University. He worked at Spahr Engineering Library at The University of Kansas and is currently working as the Science and Engineering Librarian at The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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A Library Instead of a Lab: Forging a space partnership in a new buildingAt our university, the libraries created a bookless science and engineering library in a newbuilding built for research labs and offices. The building construction was complete, butconversations between our library and engineering deans prompted the reevaluation for the spacein which two labs were yet to be filled. The engineering dean envisioned the value of having alibrary in his new building. After a retrofit design, we created a bookless library to emphasize acollaborative study environment alongside innovative library services embedded in the scienceand engineering building. The library is not just a resource, but a center or hub of collaborativeactivity among students. It is not just in their space, but it has become their space.The use of the space the college gave us had to be designed for maximum student capacity. Wewant to allow as many students to comfortably fit and study as possible, while giving themdiverse options for practical and aesthetic reasons. We made the decision to not include anybooks so we could focus on our services, including book delivery from the main library uponrequest, and expand and explore an aggressive collection development policy for electroniccontent. The bookless aspect of the library is confusing to many people, at first, but after weshow researchers how to navigate our myriad collections online, they are quite happy with theresults.After the first semester and rising gate counts, we are focusing on providing small workshopsand advertising one-on-one help with a librarian anywhere in the building complex. Despite thelack of physical books in the facility, we have a fast book delivery service (within 2 hours duringthe day). All of our services are designed to promote the use of the library’s electronic resourcesand facilitate a better understanding of the information process.Our science and engineering librarians continue to make rigorous assessment of the facility’sprogress. Our paper will include assessment questions we use to survey our patrons, data andstatistics to evaluate the use of the space, and challenges in our decisions to modify the spacearrangements according to successes in partnerships with the college tutoring program andstudent associations.

McAdams, J. (2011, June), A Library Instead of a Lab: Forging a Space Partnership in a New Building Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17336

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