Photo: Robert W Woodruff Library
At Emory University, Atlanta, one of the leading research universities, the library is set to reopen this summer with an emphasis on group collaboration and mobile device use.
The Emory News Center reports that the renovation project, called Next Generation Learning Commons, will include comfortable and flexible furniture to encourage collaboration, a reduction in fixed workstations to make room for more mobile device-friendly areas, and an increase in seating and power sources.
The furniture will be updated with brightly coloured movable tables, chairs, ottomans and other pieces designed to foster collaboration and group study. The renovation will increase the number of seats from 250 to 300, and all will have power outlets built in so students can plug in their devices wherever they sit.
Public use workstations in decline
Woodruff Library has 180 public-use workstations in its Learning Commons across four floors. But workstation usage has declined in the last several years. For example, logins dropped from 112,665 in spring 2011 to 87,967 in fall 2013, a decrease of 22 percent. The decrease is due largely to an increase in the move to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), which requires more access to power outlets.
Other innovations include the introduction of group study space advance booking using Office 365, and the provision of video and audio conferencing facilities.
And it's not just in academic libraries
In the US, in one county library service, the library PC network is being replaced by iPads, again reflecting trends in mobile technology. The use of PC fixed workstations is in decline and the library has decided to move to a mobile environment. That will mean iPad training for the public, the introduction of iPad storytimes, and classes for teens in iPad photography.
The library reports that “statistics show the decline of the PC and the rise of mobile devices as the primary Internet device for many people.”