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Working Within The System And Listening To Users: Faculty And Students Define Library Space And Service Needs

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

ELD Poster Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1380.1 - 14.1380.10



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Paper Authors

author page

Mary Strife West Virginia University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Working within the system while thinking out of the box: faculty and students define library space and service needs Abstract

The redesign of the first floor of the Evansdale Library at West Virginia University is now on track. An interior designer from the university has been assigned and completion is expected by fall 2009. However, we wanted to know what our students and faculty had in mind for our space. We will have wasted much time and energy if we do not know what the users want and will use. We collected data from an online survey and conducted a series of focus groups in the fall with undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. This was the first time we had the time, expertise, and administrator support to collect and use data from students and faculty to recreate space in the library. The redesign of the space should be more functional and pleasing to the users since their needs were considered and will be incorporated where possible.


There are three floors in the Evansdale Library. The second and lower levels are designated, with signs, as “Quiet Study Area”. Since the first floor has the majority of the computers and both service desks with telephones, we allow for group discussion and consultation on this floor and expect it to be a more active floor. The carpet on the first floor is the most worn and in need of replacement. This is where this process began. Since the Provost was responsible for the choice of carpet in 1999, we needed his support and approval to have the carpet replaced. With his consent, all was on target for replacement over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks in 2006. Enter the concept of an information commons with flexible learning spaces and the opportunity to reclaim space in our building from Academic Information Services (AIS), and the process was suspended. Carpet replacement had not required an approved plan. The anticipated changes in the project required that we submit a plan to the campus Capital Projects Committee (CPC) that included new carpet, flexible learning space, new furniture, and specific ideas on how we would use the AIS space. Just as we moved forward with the approved plan in the fall of 2007, the Provost’s Office put everything on hold once more.

Now our intent is to replace the carpet in all public areas of the first floor and reconfigure the space for more collaborative learning areas for our students and faculty. The plan also calls for as much flexible furniture and equipment as we can afford. If we can recover the space from AIS, we can add an additional electronic classroom, more study rooms, and a multipurpose area that would be perfect should we ever need to provide 24/7 access all the time instead of during the last week of classes and finals week. This is an opportunity to combine service points on the first floor, giving library users one-stop-access to reference, tech support and access services. We will also define space that can be configured for meetings, tutoring, or group study.

While going through the beginning stages of negotiating and planning with personnel in the Provost’s Office and Facilities Management, we needed to get familiar with the possibilities. Hence, all the readings on redesigned educational and library spaces. The articles gave us ideas about options, what students and faculty from other institutions cared about, questions to ask, and efficient and effective ways to change space. We also made several trips to Ohio University

Strife, M. (2009, June), Working Within The System And Listening To Users: Faculty And Students Define Library Space And Service Needs Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5440

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