Science Library Spaces

Facilitator: Grace Baysinger
Note-taker: Danianne Mizzy

 How to make science library spaces engaging and cool, especially with zero budget and especially for branch libraries. Are there ideas for activities? Signage? Space-using activities (tutoring services etc) that get people in the building?            

  • Stanford – Swain retrofit old Chemistry Library
  • Send collections out to storage – access to collections was a draw
  • Graduate students and faculty used afterhours access
  • New occupancy stats showed busy day, low occupancy night
  • Group study rooms prizes
  • In main library (Green) students like small out of the way places for quiet study, seek out “nooks and crannies”


Planning – useful to create personas (examples – the doctoral student who needs 24/7 quiet study space to finish dissertation)
Create use cases (undergrads need quiet study to get away from noisy dorm environment)

Security during afterhours access an open question

What are the distinguishing features of a 21stC academic library. Are we more than a study hall/coffee shop/computer lab/collection of group study rooms


Features Unique to Library

  • -print collections (some disciplines materials not available electronically)
  • -course reserves
  • -expert help – reference, data, GIS,
  • -software provider


Not Unique to Library

  • -study space
  • -coffee
  • -printing
  • -shared computing
  • -scanning
  • -gathering place


Hallmarks for designing new spaces – flexibility, modularity

Take out all the books, is it still a library/what makes it a library?
Do we retain some print materials to perpetuate the print experience/culture? (Browsing collections of popular books & magazines)
Recycle books into furnishings made of books [humorous]

Watch out for the common wisdom about spaces and users being a fallacy
Quiet/noisy; time of day
Can’t extrapolate accurately from just one discipline

Innovative Uses of Library Space

  • Free Library of Philadelphia – kiosk at airport – free wifi, tapestry of books, ebooks you can download for a fee
  • Remodeled library instruction room
  • Create different environments (project rooms, SCALE-UP classroom, mod chairs, collaborative computer labs with two-person workstations)

Evolving spaces as over time allocation of space moves from predominantly collections to predominantly user space

Inspiring Spaces

  • Natural Light
  • Plants
  • Art work
  • Modern comfortable furnishings and new carpet
  • Views (Mill Valley Public Library – sweeping views of outdoors. Hopkins Marine Station – fireplace)


Staff space repurposed to make an “idea room” whiteboards, post-its

Meditation room

Virtual meetings – need good software, headsets and microphones

Privacy needed for cubicle workers

Lighting – need different amounts of light just like need quiet and noisy

Destressing for students – massage, puppies, puzzles, games – “Go club”


Digital Signage

  • Stanford Engineering Library see BB right as you get off elevator
  • Architects were initially reluctant because feared stale content
  • Originally PPT, static hours, RSS feed of new content


Stanford MOBI Social Lab – student proposal – interested in social media aspects

  • Uses an Android/Chrome too;
  • Dynamic library content – workshops, new faculty publications
  • Instagram feed
  • Hourse dynamic
  • New books feed from SearchWorks


Next steps – user content, digital posters, networking boards so that content can be shared among libraries, touch screen capability to make it interactive

At service desk have iPads loaded with tabs for most frequently asked questions – policies, other spaces

Board in library students vote best places to eat on campus

HP Touch interactive digital tour of library

Still see a value to paper handouts (map of campus libraries)

Gadget bar for folks to try out new technology