Adventures in Academic Libraries

Academic Libraries are exploring new directions with innovative designs; one example, the most renowned, is the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University.  Interestingly, the design of the library is taken from the world of textiles, which North Carolina has a long history with:


The revolutionary changes at Hunt make it possible for students to engage in play, AKA learning on multiple levels.  It is a living example of, “an entrepreneurial spirit, eager to experiment with many nontraditional tools in order to connect with users in new ways.” (From community to technology… and back again, Andy Havens and Tom Storey, Module 5) There is an explanation on how their book retrieval system (the BookBot) works in this article:

As children, we have an innate sense of play that we utilize in exploring the world around us.  Libraries such as Hunt have the potential to bring forth a sense of experimentation and exploration to higher learning institutions.

What is work if not an outgrowth of the play we exhibit as younger beings?  Ideally, it is accomplished with interest and joy in our actions.  There is sometimes frustration as well, hopefully as a part of the process, rather than the entire process. For millennials, especially, who were born with a chip in their hand, it is essential to provide a habitat for “…challenging, technology-oriented instructional activities.” (The hyperlinked school library: engage, explore, celebrate, Stephens, M. (2010), Module 3)

To paraphrase my favorite quote from the Hunt Library information in the module, “Employers who have come to see the library have realized that they will need to provide opportunities to students with amazingly advanced skills.”


The most interesting article, to me, in the Hyperlinked Academic Library adventure section was in Things to Explore, and is a report on redesigning signage, the directional/informational signs found in libraries: Signage by Design: A Design-Thinking Approach to Library User Experience by Edward Luca and Bhuva Narayan.

This is a comprehensive look at using signs in a library, with both a great deal of research and explanations of how and why they changed their signs.  They asked students what they thought about the proposed changes, which is an excellent idea, and also used complementary colors for the signs.  It is not only that the article showcases the changes, equally important is they detail their strategies in doing this.







One thought on “Adventures in Academic Libraries”

  1. What a great quote/paraphrase! I had forgotten about that idea. It’s so interesting to consider: what does that mean for how libraries as employers? What opportunities should they provide new hires? Great stuff to think about.

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