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        Kevin Manuel, Liaison Librarian, Brock University
Today‟s presentation

       About me
       The Matheson Learning Commons
       Online Survey
       Focus Groups
       Preliminary findings
       Upcoming analysis
       Publications
The Researcher
   About Kevin
     BA  Anthropology, MA Sociology,
     Co-op at University of Waterloo

     MLIS Independent study

      – focus groups
     Liaison Librarian at

      Brock University
     CLA Library Research and
      Development award
Before Renovations – June 2007
After Renovations – Sept 2008

Places to study…
Lots of computers…
Group work…
Take a break…
The survey…

      Ethics approval
      Online survey for one month
      Library homepage
      For students
      16 questions
      Recruit sample population
      138 responses
Survey Results

   A) Undergraduate      A) Male
    B) Graduate            B) Female
    C) No reply            C) No reply
Survey Results

   A) Applied Health Sciences      A) Lecture
    B) Business                      B) Reading
    C) Education                     C) Audio-Visual
    D) Humanities                    D) Demonstration
    E) Math and Science              E) Discussion group
    F) Social Sciences               F) Practice by doing
    G) Other                         G) Sharing knowledge
                                     H) Other
Survey Results

                                    A) Studying
   A) Individually with noise       B) Meetings
    B) Individually with quiet       C) Services (research, writing, career)
    C) In a group with quiet         D) Socializing
    D) In a group with noise         E) Coffee breaks
    E) Other                         F) Email, Facebook, etc.
                                     G) Other
Survey Results

   A) Lounge area by coffee bar      A) Groups assigned by instructor
    B) PC workstations                 B) Informal study groups
    C) Mac workstations                C) None
    D) Seats by windows                D) Other
    E) Quiet area at back
    F) Group study rooms
    G) Computer labs
Focus Groups

   Ethics approval
   $20 book store gift
    certificate incentive
   Refreshments
   Circle discussion
   Moderator
   Note taker
   Whiteboard
Focus Group

                 49 signed up
                 21 attended
                 4 sessions at different
                  days and times
                 45 minute discussions
                 Icebreakers
                 Informal discussion
Focus Group themes

   What are the perceptions of students when comparing the
    previous library space to the new Learning Commons design?
   How are students using the combined resources provided in the
    Learning Commons?
   How are students actually using the space in the Learning
    Commons for collaborative work?
   Does the new environment promote learning, encourage
    engagement and contribute to student success?
Focus Group findings

   „Old library‟
     Not welcoming
     Not enough group study

     Needed more computers

     Services crowded

     “the old Library was from the dinosaur age!”
What students liked about the LC
   Open concept                 More computers
   Better lighting              More computer plugs
   Very Organized               More space for
   Various seating               laptops
    arrangements                 “Laptop Wall” (note –
   Comfort of sofa areas         meaning the wall
   Group study rooms             along the window with
                                  all the plugs)
   Starbucks
                                 Informal learning
   More access to reserves       environment
Patterns of Use

   Studying                        Social
     Individual                      “Nice  to unwind here
     Group                            after studying”
     Combinations                    “It helps being with

     “I like to study alone           friends to work on an
      first and then use study         assignment”
      rooms, couches or               “I‟m here from 7am-7pm”

      tables near the café            Computers “it‟s more
      afterwards”                      social use like Facebook”
Design of the Learning Commons
   More inviting space       “Less rigid, more
   “Nice and modern           informal, along with the
    looking – gorgeous!”       coffee bar these things
   Improve acoustics          make the library a fun
                               place to learn”
   “It is nice to have
    options and use           “Some students spend all
    different types of         their breaks/time here -
    spaces”                    its‟ better than going
                               home - they can get
                               more work done now”

   Lighting
     Better  lighting so students
      feel less sleepy
     “I like seeing outside rather
      than being in the tower
      (library), it‟s like a box”
     “It‟s not straining on the
      eyes. Helps keep me alert”

            Open layout
              Easy  to find people I‟m
               meeting with
              Like being able to cut
               through rather than
               walk outside
              Better air quality with
               more breathing room

   Soft furnishings for
    more relaxed study
   „Pods‟ for group work
   Window seats for
    using laptops
   Quiet study area
   Booths by Starbucks
   Need for tables
Group Study Rooms

                 Some Students use rooms
                  on a weekly basis (1-5
                 “I have to come here
                  twenty times a semester
                  for presentation work”
                 Convenient place for
                  everyone to meet
Use of Group Study Rooms
   Study individually and/or collaboratively
   Practice seminar presentations
   Midterm/final preparation
   To record a video project
   Business group projects (one student often has five
   White boards are good for studying
   Computers/LCD screen
   “Rows and rows of
    computers. It‟s easier to find
    one between classes, like
    the standing use only
    computers. Students really,
    really like this because of
    the quick turnover.”
   Macs are used – often
    there is no wait for the
   Use computers for
             “Before, it was hard to find
              computer plugs but now
              they are everywhere. This
              makes it easier to be more
              productive because your
              notes are on your laptop”
             Use laptops in the study
              rooms and the social area
              by Starbucks
             Use of laptops on loan
              from circulation
   “Nice to have all the
    services in one place,
    especially having the
    photocopiers and reserves
    close together”
   Self-checkout is good for
    keeping the line at the desk
   Enjoy having reserves and
    circ. in the same place
   Like the Help Desk dual

                  “It is beneficial to have
                   all services together in
                   one place”
                  Career Services used
                   for a mock interview
                  Career Services –
                   “I have a friend that
                   uses it all the time”

   It makes it like Chapters
   Makes the space more
    inviting and social
   “nice during exam
    time…don‟t need to pack
    up and go somewhere else”
   “good idea for studying
    later, if I can afford it”

                Touch screen – don‟t
                 have to bother library
                Like the print station -
                 don‟t get the noise from
                 it because it is boxed in
                Having the two banks of
                 copiers makes copying
                 so easy in the LC
Possible Improvements

   More sofas and chairs      More group rooms
   More tables for            Easier access to group
    studying                    rooms
   Open earlier/later         Longer booking time
   Improve line for            for group rooms
    circulation/reserves       More computers
   Easier photocopying        More plug outlets
    Collaborative Work

   Can work with your group
    quietly and then talk
   “Everyone can meet in the
    study rooms, everyone
    knows where it is”
   Can work with your group
    quietly and then talk
   Convenience
Promoting Learning
                    Provides options for
                     learning: individual study,
                     quiet, group study, it
                     provides options for
                     different types of study
                    Enjoy the academic setting
                     – it‟s not just social
                    It does contribute to
                     students‟ success overall
                    “It‟s nice to know this
                     building is for learning”
   “I‟d rather come here        “I live here”
    to study because it is
                                 “Don‟t know what I did
    bright and modern,
                                  without it”
    and everything I need
    is nearby”                   “There is more
                                  opportunity to do work”
   “It encompasses
    everything a university      “The pros outweigh the
    should have – I wish          cons, I‟m really happy
    the rest of the library       that Brock decided to
    was like this”                do this”

               Examine the literature
               Compare findings
               Analyze
               Publications
Matheson Learning Commons

  Thanks for attending!

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