Professional Development

ZSR Staff Development Tour of the ASU Library and Information Commons

Friday, April 4, 2008 1:41 pm

On Wednesday, March 25th, 7 members of the ZSR Staff, Rosalind Tedford, Mary Beth Lock, Lauren Pressley, Kaeley McMahon, Sarah Jeong, Christian Burris and myself loaded up in the WFU Student Life van and headed up 421 to visit the ASU Library and Information Commons in Boone. We arrived and started a tour around 10:30am. Four members of the ASU staff (see list below) who were members of the”Library Internal Building Group” led us all over the building. After an amazing tour (see highlights listed below) we were treated to lunch by our host and had a discussion about the lessons they learned in this building process. After lunch and discussion we resumed our tour and by 3:30pm were back on 421 to WFU! Our ASU hosts were just amazing as was their facility. To see pictures of the ASU Library and Information Commons, check out the library’s photo set from this trip!

Below is a list of tour highlights, positives outcomes from the building experience and lessons learned. The seven staff who attended collected these items together in a Google Doc to make this a truly collaborative report!

Present from ASU

  • Ann Viles- Associate University Librarian
  • Lynne Lysiak- Head of Systems
  • Pat Sweet-Facility Manager
  • Lori Davis- Position in Technical Services

(All Four were on the “Library Internal Building Group”)

Library and Building History Highlights

  • 1996-Planning began
  • Funding received in 2000/2001
  • Funding included building and Parking Deck
  • Building completed in 2005, deck in 2006 (Architect-Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott)
  • ASU uses the Innovative Library System

Tour Highlights

  • Aluminum table in the conference room made for a very nice light movable piece of furniture, but makes the wireless mouse and keyboard unusable.
  • They had 26 study rooms. Booked study rooms with III Millennium client with an opac interface
  • Chairs in the conference room were stackable and colorful, light and wheeled.
  • Floors had outlet junction boxes built in with covers that were flush with the floor when not opened. Made for flexible use.
  • They shared students from circulation to reference desk and back.
  • Had “stacks workrooms” on each floor where books that were picked up from study tables were scanned in to have a record of “in building use.”
  • Movable shelves for microform cabinets!
  • DVD collection was in open stacks, retrievable by patrons. Shelved in assession number order.
  • DVDs, microfiche, children’s books collection, periodicals, all together on the lower level. All periodicals, both current and bound, were shelved together using compact shelving.
  • Computing stations were facing each other but off set in a herringbone fashion. Made great use of space and students weren’t looking directly at each other.
  • Computer lab tables had great cord management, and the chairs were light, comfortable, wheeled and cheap. Flooring in labs/classrooms was also raised to allow for flexible room configurations.

Positives Outcomes

  • Lots of light, lots of study space
  • carpet squares
  • Ref collection shrunk by 50%
  • The atrium was glassed in. This really cut down on noise but still allowed for beautiful and open views.
  • The shelving in reference was half regular stacks height. This gave users plenty of flat surfaces to spread out or to write on. This also meant that everyone had a clear view of the area. Library staff could see anywhere if there was a problem, and students could see the desk (to know if the librarian was available, etc) from anywhere in the room.
  • They have a building manager and really recommend this role.
  • The library houses a large lecture hall that can be used by other campus groups during specific times. There are 120 theater-styled seats that are ADA compliant and each has an outlet.
  • Sign displays are all easily changeable. (They really recommend temporary signage for the first few years as it takes a while to determine the best location for things.)
  • The reference desk was designed for students to come around to the back to work side-by-side with the library staff member.
  • Student employees are cross trained and have periodic group training sessions on specific skills (a database, a new technology, etc). These sessions are held three or four times in one week so that there are several chances to attend.
  • There are 29 active group study rooms with various levels of technology. A few have international satellite for foreign language programming. A few have smartboards, but they have taken a beating as some used them as whiteboards.
  • One computer classroom has 34 computers set up so that the front of the classroom is to the side (rather than in front of behind the monitors). There are two projectors so that everything is visible from any point in the room. There are two smartboards. The computers run software to allow instructors to restrict what students can do or to push screens to all computers.
  • There is a server room in the library that runs things like the clocks (set by GPS) and security cameras. (The ILS server is housed elsewhere.)

Lessons Learned

  • Be Wary of Value Engineering (cost-cutting)
  • Getting lots of pressure to be open 24hours. The atrium was designed for that, but not the rest of the building. (going 24 with 4 security guards and 1 library staff.)
  • Management support of campus using library classrooms created more than expected amount of work, training faculty, management, scheduling.
  • Volume of patrons, 600,000 when opened, now 860,000
  • Would run fewer Ethernet jacks (900 wired jacks)
  • Some critical folks did not get to review particular designs
  • Follow behind the engineers (what standards are they using?)
  • They recommended to us to look into the Brooklyn College Library. It’s in a Carnegie library building and has some similar renovation interests.

If you have any questions about our visit, just ask one of us who attended!

One Response to “ZSR Staff Development Tour of the ASU Library and Information Commons”

  1. […] the ZSR Professional Development Blog there is a post with a list of tour highlights, positives outcomes from the building experience and […]


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