Friday, April 24, 2009

Prepare Yourself


So, I'm approximately a week away from finishing up this capstone project. This weekend I'll run through the floorplans I've created and pick the best ones, then start on the write up for CTR. Our project abstract was due (via email) today, so here's that:

UT’s Center for Transportation Research library is set to move its facilities in spring 2010. The goal of this project was to compile a space planning and moving guidebook for library staff that included a comprehensive literature review on the subject (focusing on the concept of the ‘Information Commons’), possible floor plans based on building blueprints, and general suggestions for things like d├ęcor and new furniture. After visiting the site of the new space, consulting the blueprints, and reviewing current library space planning literature and research, two final products were delivered to CTR library staff: the first was a literature review that included initial suggestions for space planning and moving library materials, and the second was a collection of possible floor plans (created using Microsoft’s ‘Visio’ software) with suggestions for future decorating decisions and furniture arrangement. Space planning is an important part of moving to a new library facility. Ultimately, it is hoped that the work done on this project will help CTR staff to use their new space to its fullest advantage to better serve their patrons.

I've read plenty of abstracts in my years of graduate and undergraduate classes, so I tried to do something in the same spirit. The word limit was tough to stick to! Describing a few months of work in less than 200 words is tricky, to say the least. I wanted to go into more detail about the idea of the Information Commons and how Louise was interested in and requested it, but I suppose that's what the poster session is for!

As you can see, I've managed to take some photos around the current library space too. Here's another that I want to talk about:

As you can see (or not?), this is the current front desk at CTR. First, the positives: it's right next to the door! It helps create the welcoming environment that's so good for libraries to establish, and it's connected via phone/internet. But, on the downside: because of the small space, it's really crammed in. It is part of the library entryway, but that entryway is very, very crowded because of it. If the door is slightly less than completely open (floating away from the wall, in other words: they open in to the library) then it can completely block the view of the GRA that is sitting at the desk.

So this is the sort of thing I'm trying to fix! The new space allows for more openness, and a front desk that is near the entrance, part of the entrance... but not breathing down the neck of the entrance.

As this picture makes sort of clear, almost all of CTR's shelving faces parallel to the lengthwise walls of the building: effectively blocking light that comes from the windows. The new space will allow for sunlight- glorious, glorious sunlight!- to filter into our Holy Lady of Pavement Standards and Specifications (sorry, I suddenly reminded myself of something written by a priest putting a cathedral together... he was a bit effusive about his windows, to say the least. I finally get it).

I leave you with one last picture: it's what the Visio floorplan looked like after I had created all of the furniture, but hadn't begun to arrange it yet. It was a great feeling: I felt like I had finished something, but still had plenty to do. Which is probably what I'll feel like once I get my degree, I suppose!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Joel, Great work. Abstracts are tough, and yours is good. You just have to assume folks in the audience understand certain things, uncertain as that can be. Nice Visio work, and may all prayers to saints of sunlight and shelving be answered, not to mention fixing up the desk area. Can you maark the Visio map with a color for the door in, and where the "commons" is, more or leaa, or is the whole thing considered a commons. And don't be in a rush to deal with all the other things after at least a day or two to celebrate you achievement!