Page 14 - Campus Technology, May/June 2019
P. 14

Learning Spaces
Manage expectations. “We had a much bigger vision at the beginning,” said University of Louisiana Monroe Library Director Megan Lowe. “We’ve had to scale back and that’s been OK. I don’t think any of us have treated that like a failure. It’s just being able to adapt to what our resources are and what our spaces are and what our students want and need.”
Pilot. Do not get overly excited about buying a whole bunch of new things and putting them out there, because “if you do that, you may be wasting money,” asserted Lowe. In terms of furniture, that means getting and testing one piece of a “certain type of large furniture” and two or three pieces of smaller components, such as the study-alone units the library added.
Choose vendors with education experience. As an example, Herman Miller has invested a lot in understanding libraries,” explained IT Director Chance Eppinette. “They also do furnishings for businesses and hospitals; but they try to design this furniture so that it’s functional and robust to how a student would use it.”
Get creative with funding. State financial support for universities in Louisiana hasn’t been “friendly,” said Thomas Hoover, CIO and dean
of the library. So, the team has scrounged funding from several sources. The president, for example, came up with the budget to cover new carpet and painting for the second-floor project. And additional money has been freed up for the remodel by becoming more efficient with IT operations — “tightening the screws down,” as Hoover put it, such as with remote monitoring of labs to replace student workers.
Settle in and survey. Before rinsing and repeating, make sure the new layout works with users. Hoover said the library will soon survey students and faculty for feedback on their second-floor likes and dislikes before moving on to next steps. He’s already got surplus carpeting from the latest remodel that he thinks will cover the first floor. And then in the next fiscal year, it’ll be time to start over.

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