The success of a new building or a renovation can be gauged in many ways – but none better than by the actions and reactions of the users of the space. As the Libraries addresses the strategic direction to build learning environments that enable self-directed learning, we explore what contributes to such an environment, including the expectations for library spaces. In this issue of In Circulation, I will summarize two recent assessments.
Earlier issues of this newsletter have highlighted various strategic directions within the Libraries’ evolving Strategic Plan—building learning environments, deepening connections with scholarship, and modeling a library organization. I have left the most enduring and perhaps obvious one for last—that the Libraries ensures access to ideas and authoritative information sources, regardless of time or geography, for Drexel’s diverse community to learn, contribute to scholarship, and serve society.
Libraries staff is undertaking innovative initiatives to address this important responsibility. We continue to license access to electronic information resources, critical to research and teaching, and are challenged in doing so by the growing population at Drexel, as well as the expansion of the University’s scholarly communications and research scope. We are also working to simplify the discovery of multiple unique collections across Drexel and beyond, and collaboratively with others, to ensure that the creative expressions at Drexel are available to others for future use in teaching and research.
One of the strategic directions the Libraries is pursuing is to build and nurture communities. We do so by exploring topics of shared interest among Drexel students, faculty, staff, as well as alumni, colleagues and friends beyond campus. In this issue, you will read about recent efforts to bring together alumni and students interested in Drexel’s football program, triggered by an exhibit from the Archives, as well as seeking ways to encourage the preservation and celebration of the University’s memories and legacy of its athletic program. In another venue, we were delighted to host an opportunity for students to explore the use of typography to express the purpose of the Library Learning Terrace and to share their creations with others who will view the selected designs that will be used to embellish the aesthetics of this learning environment.
With the start of a new year, we feel refreshed to think about the future. In this segment, I want to offer a preface to what will be reported in coming months. There are two particularly exciting tasks ahead.
By end of the calendar year we hope to complete the renovation of the W.W. Hagerty Library. Mechanical upgrades, replaced carpets, and reupholstered furniture were completed over the past couple of years with special focus on refreshing the second floor and starting on the entry floor. The remainder of the first and the ground floors still await renovation. To inform space design to address new demands for library spaces, we will conduct a series of discussions with a group of faculty, students and staff over coming weeks about desirable features for learning environments and programs to support them.