Recent asbestos related delays have pushed the CTR's move back to the Spring of 2010 at the soonest (before, they were projecting December 2009). This was always going to be a long term planning project, however, so that won't affect my approach. The goals of this project are as follows:
- To create a comprehensive literature review on library relocation and design/space planning. (To be completed by the end of March, 2009)
- To draft a floorplan for the new CTR library space. (To be completed by the end of April, 2009)
So, that'll be the blog! On to some research.
One of the things Louise expressed a lot of interest in early on was creating an 'iCommons' space for the new library. The iCommons is a relatively new concept to libraries, but it basically refers to creating an open, inviting space to patrons for collaboration and learning. It also has some connotations towards a more digitally oriented library space: since materials are largely available online, the physical space of the library has to find a new purpose. Having worked at the CTR for some time, I can say honestly that the physical collections themselves aren't used very often. Most of the transportation reports we have are made available as PDF's through the library website, and most of my job as a research assistant has involved assessing people's needs and directing them towards where the material is available online (or, should they be less tech savvy, collecting it myself and sending it their way). At the same time there are two reasons why we won't be doing away with the collections altogether. First, we do have some things that haven't been scanned, and some patrons that prefer physical copies. And second, since we are funded by the Texas Department of Transportation, we act as a repository of sort for their reports. Getting rid of them isn't an option. So my ultimate goal will be to integrate an iCommons, open type space within or in conjunction with the collections.
That being said, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Library has been a beacon of hope in these first few weeks! Two links first:
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation moved their facilities back in 2005, and their library decided to take that opportunity to completely redesign their facilities. The presentation above details how they attempted to make things more "user-friendly": essentially, making the space more open, the colors more soothing, the furniture more comfortable, etc. Making this sort of drastic transition at the CTR may be a bit tougher: there isn't enough money in the budget to buy a lot of new furniture, so a lot of what I'll be doing will be rearranging what we have. Still, there is more space at the new facilities, so with a little creativity I think a lot could still be done.
All in all, I'm looking forward to figuring this puzzle out! For next week's post, I'll scan and post the floorplan of the new library as is, showing the projected spaces for offices and the stacks, and get into exactly what I'll have to moving from the current CTR space to the new building. And maybe write up an article or book if one inspires me!