Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Best Libraries -- Make a Nomination

I started a Best Libraries list to this blog. The point of the list is to identify models of best architectural features that represent what is great about a particular library building. For example, the first library that comes to my mind is the Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington. When I visited there, the library was closed for renovation. The exterior, however, was special by itself -- a Gothic cathedral of a library. I hope to see it in action one of these days.

Feel free to nominate a library, including your own, that is "special" because of its architecture. Nominations need not be limited to health sciences libraries.

AAHSL Space Planning List Discussion, Feb. 2008, cont.

from Carolyn Ann Reid, Cornell University ... March 3, 2008

Jim, a very timely discussion for us all. Thanks. Here's what's going on at Weill Cornell:

Already have:
-- wireless throughout and increased electrical outlets
-- video conf room primarily for library with occasional use by others on Dean's staff
-- comfortable, flexible lounge area that welcomes eating, drinking, and cell phone use
-- display screen in lounge area promoting information services and resources

Immediate actions:
-- combining all services to one point (circ, ILL, reference, closed reserved, laptops, copy service); work to commence this summer
-- expanding computer commons with more desktop computers; work to commence later this year
-- self-serve coffee machine in lounge area (cost recovery)
-- discussing possible IT-staffed user support desk in Library

Future plans and capital proposals submitted:
-- converting current journals area to group study areas, conference rooms, collaboratory, "touch-down" office space, etc.
-- complete renovation of computer training room for library and occasional other dept use
-- exploring the relocation of bound journals to remote storage with electronic document delivery of articles and conversion of approximately 8,000NSF to other purposes

Eager to hear more from others - - -

ps -- over the past 10 years, the Dean has reassigned a total of about 8,000NSF from the Library to Information Technologies and Services (IT) in three separate moves, the most recent one completed in 2005.

AAHSL Space Planning List Discussion, Feb. 2008, cont.

from Pat Thibodeau, Duke University ... March 2, 2008

At Duke we've done a number of things over the past 5 years and now have a major change going on.

Over the past 5 years, we have done what a number of people have already reported. Taken down stacks to create new user spaces, purchased more comfortable seating such as couches and chairs,changed our reserve reading room into more of a cafe setting, installed a new and integrated service desk for reference and circulation services, and added technology in our group study carrels. We also had our carpeting replaced, lighting upgraded, and some changes to the ventilation system (though still no enough to even out the temperature between our floors).

In 2006 the Vice Dean for Education, my boss, appointed a faculty committee to rethink the library space. Two major factors prompted this. Our print collection was no longer growing since we had moved almost completely to e-journals, and Duke had opened a preservation-quality storage facility. In addition, the School needed more spaces to support educational activities and I wanted to create more inviting spaces for the students. The outcome was a report that recommended creating a center for learning and knowledge management integrating other educational activities and new technologies into the Library space, such as a centralized and coordinated simulation center.

The dean identified the Center for Learning as a key initiative for the strategic plan, but then he discovered that most deans and schools had built a special education center and he decided to pursue the creation of a medical education building and the Library plan lingered.

A key component of the plan was that the library would be able to move a large part of its holdings to the off-campus storage facility. This did not go unnoticed when a new facilities planner had to find a large amount of office space for faculty. Duke is taking down the oldest research and faculty office building to make room for the hospital expansion. In addition, the cancer center is expanding, but there are no plans for offices due to the CON restrictions in North Carolina. Since our building lies between the hospital and cancer center, and we could move out a large part of the collection, we were "asked" to give up the top floor (our journal stack level) for medical oncology faculty offices. This request (an offer I could not really refuse from the chancellor's office) came with the promise of changes to the Library that we wanted such as a real coffee shop and 24-hour study space. There was also the vague promise of more funding for our operating budget due to the lower expenses for the building -- the health system will be paying all the expenses for the top floor. We will be losing about 20% of our square footage since the top floor is the largest floor (our building is an inverted pyramid), which means some user spaces must be replaced.

In exchange for the space, they are replacing the group study carrels we are losing and adding an additional one. I think these will actually be superior to the space we are losing, since they will be modern looking and have a lot of light flowing through them. In addition, we are getting one large conference room that holds about 25 to 30 people instead of replacing our two smaller and inadequate conference rooms. However, they also have to bring rest-rooms up to code and plan to take a workroom and office space on the main level. We are now discussing how they need to replace those lost staff spaces. With all the materials being stored (pre-1985 journals and pre-1995 books) we will also be able to consolidate all our collections on one stack level and take down some stacks to make additional user spaces. We are also looking at modular furniture to create some new study carrels as well.

However, the plans for the improvement and creation of other areas of the library are on hold until a complete master plan for the library is completed. This is somewhat frustrating given all the promises, but there is a lot of pressure from the faculty and others to have the changes made so I am hopeful these will occur in the future. Meanwhile we have been working since early December to make decisions about what can be moved to storage, since they want to start the renovations for the offices in April!

While I do not think there is a plan to move the Library out of its central location, I sense there may be future discussions about how much stack space will be needed as the print collection becomes older and we continue to concentrate on e-formats.

Interesting times...


AAHSL Space Planning List Discussion, Feb. 2008

The following messages started the AAHSL list discussion on library space planning. Below is the original message:

Subject: Taking the Pulse -- Building/Space Trends in Academic Health Sciences Libraries -- What are They?


AAHSL Colleagues -- Hi! I am writing to start a discussion (not a survey) about building use/space trends in academic health sciences libraries. I am looking for 'free form' responses about how you are challenged about the re-use of library space. What plans are underway? What is still being explored or talked about? Who is thinking about changing their space before they are asked to give some of it up? What is the timeframe for planning -- the next couple of years, five years, 10 years out?

For example, here is what I can tell you about planning at Northwestern:

The library staff's strategic planning that has been going on for about two years has concluded that the library is ready for another renovation; things have changed so much for us since the last renovation in 1996. The former renovation planned for better people and collection space knowing full well that technology will change everything. Consequently, the library was also wired and/or had conduit put in place for future expansion of technology ports and related access points.

I initiated some thinking about re-using library space (journal stacks) in an Education Council meeting. Initially, I thought the library would re-use stack space for meeting rooms and more student study areas. Then, an opportunity to go 'more public' came in a discussion about Education not having enough room (GME, CME) when the new Children's Memorial Hospital moves to campus in 2012 (Children's is cutting back its education space in the new facility including its large library. Children's will move the librarians but not the collection as everything will be online or relocated to Galter, which will be just down the street from the new facility).

Several other discussions have now started. The MD curriculum is looking for 'college space' and 'society space' -- rooms for large student group activities (not PBL sessions). Could the library accommodate this function? There is also an education discussion taking place in our medical center for joint activities around education -- mostly CE but also GME, nursing CE, staff training and CE, etc. The library is seen as a natural home for a central education center.

In addition, we start interviewing architect firms/teams next week to do a university wide library space master plan. The master plan is targeted for completion by early fall, 2008. The focus of the master plan is a storage facility plus more renovation of the University Library.

Here, I think our medical school administration is looking to the library staff for ideas. They are not imposing anything. Costs are an issue as much focus is placed on our research agenda. We are just now building the renovation proposal with data and ideas, though we will likely give it a placeholder in our FY09 budget documents.

I think the list is a good way to share similar stories like that above. For example, what is the thinking at the new medical schools? What kind of space are you thinking about?

Let your peers know what is happenning in your library (as I don't expect to see this information in print in any of your newsletters or on your web sites).

Thanks, Jim

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Trends in Facility Planning -- Who's Doing What

In a recent email exchange with Marianne Comegys, LSU Shreveport, she asked if I knew how many academic health sciences libraries were pursuing facility planning. I crafted the following list based on observing email messages, watching colleagues' web sites, reading news items, etc. The list addresses 'recent' renovation projects, new buildings and planning efforts that have been reported. Please consider the list 'informal' or 'unofficial' as it is not based on any survey or other objective means. If the estimate is wrong, please correct me. If you are more into planning than I suggest, please correct me.

A better source for this type of information is the AAHSL Annual Statistics. Members should see the 30th edition Descriptive Library Survey 2006-2007, Table 30D.20a -- Year Each Project was Completed.

(Unless otherwise noted, libraries listed below have undergone some type of renovation in the last few years.)
Arizona Tucson
Arizona Phoenix
Arizona -- AT Still University -- new library
USC -- see MLA 2008 poster
Stanford -- renovation work plus plans for new library/education facility
UCSD -- new library
Colorado -- new library
Connecticut -- renovation 2007
Howard -- relatively new library but not recent
Florida State -- new library
Medical Coll Georgia
Hawaii -- new library
Midwestern -- relatively new library but not recent
Loyola -- planning for new library/education building
Northwestern -- planning for next renovation
Louisville -- ?
LSU Shreveport -- planning
Harvard -- renovated twice!
U Mass
Hopkins -- planning document created
NLM -- new expansion plans drafted
Wayne State
Missouri -- AT Still University -- new library
North Carolina
East Carolina -- new library but already being changed
Nevada -- relatively new library but not recent
New York Med Coll
Yeshiva U
Mt. Sinai
Syracuse -- relatively new library but not recent
Cleveland Clinic -- new library but not recent
Ohio State
Case Western
Northern Ontario
Penn State
Temple -- planning for new building
South Carolina
South Dakota -- new library but not recent
San Antonio
U Texas Southwestern
Utah -- if you count their new education building which the library manages
Eastern Virginia -- new library but not recent
Medical Coll Wisc -- expansion but not recent
U Wisconsin -- new library/education building
West Virginia -- new library/education building

Why this blog?

AAHSL colleagues have urged me to do something more with the list discussion started in February, 2008 about trends in library space planning in academic health sciences libraries. My response is to start with a blog in order to keep the topic of space planning current and usable to colleagues and interested visitors to the AAHSL web site.

This blog will start off with some recent work on space planning and proceed with the actual postings from the AAHSL list discussion. AAHSL members and visitors are encouraged to add their ideas and experiences with space planning.

Library facility planning is likely to be a hot topic for all of us in the years ahead. The appearances of several new medical schools and their libraries will alone spur much interest in facility planning.

However, the biggest impact comes from advances in how we use information technologies. Technology is radically impacting the scope, appearance and operations of libraries, particularly academic health sciences libraries. Keeping current with these changes is important to all of us and this blog will assist us by tracking our ideas about how we are planning for change.

I encourage colleagues to use this blog as a forum for the exchange and promotion of ideas about how best to create the best academic health sciences libraries.