Dean's Update: New Year, New Spaces

Dean's Update: New Year, New Spaces
Jenny James Lee
January 13, 2016

[The Dean's Update is a column introducing each issue of the Libraries' monthly e-newsletter In Circulation.]

To start the New Year, students and faculty returned from the holiday break to find two newly defined library spaces that continue the Libraries’ efforts to create learning environments for exploring information and data. One is in Hahnemann Library, while the other is in W.W. Hagerty Library’s Bookmark Café, and both can be visited by members of Drexel’s community.

The Hahnemann Library space on the first floor has been refreshed with new carpeting, paint and furnishings. We tackled the challenge of managing sounds that are distracting to learning, responding to complaints from students that the library was noisy and its furniture not only uncomfortable, but sometimes painful to use. A new arrangement of seating to stimulate individual study, group collaborations, and use of technologies is now offered, with a variety of seats and work surfaces. We are eager to see if the new design is successful in offering welcoming spaces for learning in Center City.

At W. W. Hagerty Library, we introduced a Data Visualization Zone - a dedicated portion of the Bookmark Café where students can explore and manipulate data displayed in visual forms. Many disciplines work with data – and Drexel students can now enjoy a space to work with data in a new and exciting way. They can use the Data Visualization Zone to visualize their data to find new insights, gain evidence for making decisions or explore different presentations. Grasping meaning from data points and being confident in how to leverage this foundation to information should be a signature of all Drexel graduates, regardless of major.

The Libraries offers the Data Visualization Zone as a place to practice data analysis methods learned in course work, or to be guided by librarians and faculty to use tools and resources available to learn alone. It is an open area, also equipped with a variety of furnishings to stimulate group work or observation, and is available 24/7. We look forward to the ability to stimulate self-directed learners to not just look at data, but to engage with it in new ways. The space—a part of the Libraries’ Information Exploratorium-- is a non-judgmental zone, encouraging exploration and experimentation, while also offering resources and guidance to develop data literacy.

Happy 2016!

Danuta A. Nitecki
Dean of Libraries