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Campus Community Offers Informal Assessments of Libraries Spaces

August 8, 2018

In July, Danuta A. Nitecki, Dean of Libraries, hosted informal conversations with Drexel faculty, students and administrators about the possibilities for the Drexel Libraries' physical space as a venue to communicate what it means to engage with the Libraries for learning.

During two sessions involving a dozen faculty and administrators, Dean Nitecki shared a few ideas about the transformation of the Libraries, and then these informal advisors walked through the W. W. Hagerty Library, located on Drexel’s University City campus. Each walking tour concluded in the Dean’s Kitchen, where participants talked about what they saw and thought would improve the facility to better support self-directed learning and build community.  A senior faculty member guided the conversations, with an opening observation that the space is rather nice, with some good work areas, nature lighting and obvious heavy use.

“So, what is the problem?” he asked. Ideas flowed easily, and themes emerged about what the W. W. Hagerty Library could be—an attractive destination, more inviting from the outside; a mix of portioned, defined areas for focused study with little or no distractions; a place where people on campus expect to come to engage in the intellectual life of the mind and build community. 

Several officers from Drexel’s Undergraduate Student Government also provided feedback on the potential for the W. W. Hagerty Library as a focused learning environment. Earlier this year, elected representatives of the sophomore class approached the Library Dean to express their desire to help improve this favorite space among students. They shared feedback from their peers and enthusiastically engaged with exploring design ideas for the space, as they wish to seek funding for introducing new furniture designs. One student summarized well the purpose students come to the library when he observed that “let’s go to the library where we can stay on track” is a frequent invitation made to friends when the pressure to get serious about studying is shared.

Separately, a forthcoming accreditation visit has motivated faculty in the Medical College to ask for a more traditional refresh of the Queen Lane Library. Libraries staff recently had conversations to reach common ground about what activities the space would support, and we are now awaiting cost estimates for renovating this library learning environment.

More information about the Libraries’ continuing transformation of its various spaces will follow over the coming months, and we look forward to sharing our plans with the Drexel community.