Friday, October 31, 2008

Academic Health Center Libraries and Information Commons

Today Janet Stith kicked off our year-long conversation, "Rethinking Research Libraries in the 21st Century" with a presentation on academic health center libraries. I learned a great deal about future expectations and how changes at UK will impact the future of our medical center library. Much of it was new to me, and it was pretty interesting stuff.

One thing that particularly struck me was that the information commons concept isn't just for undergraduates anymore. We've started talking about the concept in terms of faculty, but here we are thinking about the same sort of thing for physicians and other medical professionals. While Janet didn't specifically call the future Medical Campus Library an information commons, many of the desired services and amenities are very commons-like:
  • Multiple kinds and styles of collaboration spaces--some pods, some rooms, maybe even some "study huts"
  • Open, attractive, inspiring spaces
  • Comfortable, movable furniture
  • Collections that are largely electronic--at least 90% of it may have moved online
  • Multimedia assistance and instruction
  • Lounge/food--this is always an important one...where else do you get your diet Coke?

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