Library Renovations: Pedagogy as driver?

I spotted an interesting blog post about what drives the physical shape of academic library renovations. Here at ASU, Hayden Library has completed the first phase of a major library renovation. The sub-basement of Hayden has been partially emptied of its stacks and refitted with futuristic computer classrooms and group study spaces.


Hayden Library’s sub-basement, renovation mostly completed (from ASU Libraries)

Hayden Library is far from alone in launching a major renovation of an academic libraries. Across the world, academic libraries are fighting to justify their existence and negotiate continued occupancy of their physical space. An article at The Guardian this month outlines what’s behind the drive to renovate:

“Pedagogy is the driver for the changes in library design,” says Ann Rossiter, director of the Society of College, National and University Libraries – “changes to the way undergraduates are expected to study, for example, including more social spaces, more social learning and group learning. The way that library buildings are changing is designed to reflect that.”

Academic libraries are thus being repositioned as active “learning spaces” rather than static repositories of information. This trend is several years in the making, and I imagine that only our children will be able to report on the full effects of transformation. Change is always hard, but when it comes to physically re-imagining what many consider sacred ground, emotions can run high.

“The academic library has died,” wrote Brian Sullivan, librarian at Alfred University, in an opinion piece responding to the gloomy tone of a 2011 report on the future of academic libraries. “One reason for cause of death is that library buildings were converted into computer labs, study spaces and headquarters for informational-technology departments.”

Classes just started last Thursday at ASU, so not much word yet on how the lower level classrooms are working out.

How about your library? How has your library been transformed? Any plans for renovation?

Monday Fun Day: Silly Library Links

Mondays are rough – so here’s a collection of links to help you ease into the start of your work week!

BuzzFeed has a collection of passive-aggressive library signs

Hear some of the funny things overheard at the local library, thanks to LibraryThing

Behold an awesome collection of library-related (silly) images over at Pinterest. (If you’re not on Pinterest, you’re missing out. Or maybe you’re benefiting from not spending so much time on the computer…)

Show your library pride after picking up a few library-related doodads from Cafe Press

Huffington Post supposedly has 9 of the most hilarious library videos EVER

The Outreach Librarian Blog has a compiled list of the funniest reference questions

Mr. Library Dude has a collection of awesome, customized lego library worker figures

Finally, bad library jokes.

A man goes into a library and asks for a book on cliffhangers.
The librarian says;

End Plagiarism Now: Let’s Ctrl-X the Essay

I read an Annie’s Mailbox advice column featuring a parent’s letter complaining about plagiarism charges leveled against her student:

The teacher ran the paper through one of the commercially available online programs designed to catch plagiarism, and part of one sentence popped up. She insists he copied the sentence from some book published in the 1950s and expects him to cite his source.

The parent argues that she walked the student through every step of the essay writing process and that no plagiarism occurred – that it’s mere coincidence that part of one sentence just happened to match the 1950s book.

Annie’s response:

[Y]ou need to be practical. If teachers use these online programs to check for plagiarized phrases, it makes sense for students to double-check their papers the same way.

Annie gave some solid advice: use the same tool as your teacher to make sure you don’t get pegged for plagiarism.

There’s gotta be a better way!

Clearly college students have a culture all of their own, and educators aren’t going to be able to change that without student buy-in.

But why can’t we be more creative in the assignments we give students?

Students copy and paste for two reasons, in my unscientific opinion: First, because it’s easy, and by pre-emptively running it through something like, they can get away with it. Second, they plagiarize because their creative online activities generally center on re-using or re-appropriating someone else’s content – and fresh content is extremely accessible. They’re spending their free time connected to the internet and they’re doing amazing and hilarious things (just see Tumblr f0r good [and bad] evidence of this. But when it’s good, it’s gooooood).

I think the current education system enables plagiarism by continuing to emphasize essays as the default demonstration of content mastery. This is an assignment format that is extremely susceptible to becoming copy-and-paste masterpieces. Students have always plagiarized – it’s just much easier now. So let’s let students put their online creative urges to academic use by coming up with new ways of assessing their mastery of course content.

How about more presentations – but NOT with PowerPoint? Have you tried Glogs or VoiceThread? How about more group work with deliverables that mirrors what they’ll have to do in professional jobs? How about letting students come up with their own ways to show you they understand the course, without rigidly forcing them to produce 1000 words on the subject?

Let’s make assignments more interactive and more reflective of the culture that students and professional workers actually live in. Good writing skills are very important. But so is getting students engaged in the material they’re supposed to be studying. I bet, like me, you do your best work on subjects and mediums that are most engaging for you.

What do you think? Got any creative ideas for tackling the culture of plagiarism?

Turning the Tables: Library as Publisher

Makerspaces, 3D printing, publishing on demand.

Current trends in libraries revolve around the library as a space of creation, not “passive” consumption.

Academic libraries are getting into the game by becoming journal publishers, partnering with other campus units to produce original publications. Open access journals are a hot new product.

But is this merely an attempt for libraries to justify their existence?

Wanna Write a Good One? Library as Publisher, by James LaRue

A late-2011 report from ARL’s Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition stated that slightly more than half of all ARL member libraries were either developing or already had publishing services.

About three-quarters of the programs publish between one and six journals, the majority of which are only distributed electronically and are less than three-years old. About half of the programs publish conference proceedings, technical reports, or monographs; most often electronically, but with some print-on-demand distribution.

Ohio State University launched their publishing services in response to faculty demand.

Over and over again, librarians told me something like, “faculty came to us and said, ‘I need a publisher and the library is the obvious place on campus to provide this service.’”

Impressed and interested in getting your library on board? Columbia University Libraries put together a Library Publishing Toolkit to help you get started.

Over 50 academic libraries banded together to form the Library Publishing Coalition to support libraries in this endeavour. Library Journal interviewed one of LPC’s founders to learn more about what’s pushing libraries into the publishing business.

American Libraries magazine supports library publishing services as a way to fight back against the Big Six publishers. The magazine also offers tips on recruiting authors to the effort.

Many, many libraries are in the unfortunate position of having to justify their existence. Is offering publishing services just another move to stay relevant? Would you offer publishing in your library?