This past week I had the opportunity to visit the new University of Alberta Digital Scholarship Centre located in Cameron Library. While I had spent my time exploring materials for public libraries, I still see similarities in these new spaces that have been created for students and faculty on the University campus.
Laerkes (2016) describes the four different overlapping spaces that public libraries should accommodate: the inspiration space, the learning space, the meeting space and the performance space. These four spaces often overlap rather than be separate areas within a library. During my visit to the Digital Scholarship Centre I noted that they had included all of these aspects into this new area of the library.
I went to the University of Alberta during my undergrad in the early 2000s. Though I didn’t spend as much time in the Science and Technology collections at Cameron Library, I was totally floored at how much the library had changed in 19 years. There is now a Starbucks right by the main entrance to the library on the main floor which is now bustling with student activity entering and leaving the library.
On the second-floor walking towards the Digital Scholarship Centre, we immediately see the library’s makerspace as an inspiring workshop with glass on all sides so those walking by can see what wonders are being created and be inspired for their own projects. They facility includes multiple 3D printers, 3D scanners and has a display case for recent class projects by a 400 level Design class’ designs for airplanes. This visually open lab serves to inspire others while also making the use of the lab into somewhat of a performance.
They’ve similarly made a feature of their flagship meeting space which features a large touch capable visualization wall made up of 12 full HD screens (Digital Scholarship Centre, n.d.). This space has a large framed window onto the action visible as one enters the DSC space blending the purpose of this large meeting room with that of a performance space.
In addition to these large meeting spaces, there are wide variety of smaller group meeting spaces, group computer workstations, more sound proofed brainstorming/collaboration spaces and a digital sound booth for podcasting. Most of these spaces also offer digital displays and technology hook ups to allow for sharing of visualization and presentations.
They have blended the different aspects of learning and collaborating at a wide variety of scales into this new space and I was very pleased to see how bustling it was, like the rest of Cameron library, only a month after opening.
Digital Scholarship Centre (n.d.). Spaces. Retrieved from https://dsc.library.ualberta.ca/book-rooms-equipment/
Laerkes, J.G. (2016, March 29). The four spaces of the public library [Weblog post]. Retrieved from https://blogs.ifla.org/public-libraries/2016/03/29/the-four-spaces-of-the-public-library/