Re-Imagining Technology’s Role in the Library Building

Susan Thompson & David Walker from California State University-San Marcos, Kellogg Library

(I took too long eating my cake and talking so I arrived a little late to this session.)

Susan Thompson is up first.
California State University-San Marcos is a relatively new campus and they have just completed a new library building. One of their major considerations was developing a building that would support a large amount of technology for their students.

They took special care with their classrooms, which they call labs, paying attention to lighting, projection screens, and versatility of the rooms. A collaborative classroom which has round tables provides an area conducive to group work. The instructor has a control screen on their computer that controls all of the components of the classroom, including screens, lights, and to even control and manipulate the student’s computers.

Not only did the Kellogg library install over 240 computers, but they also created media edit stations for their students. This is an interesting idea and one that I think is not very common. (This brings the library into the grey realm of computer lab vs research area. Many libraries are both, though most of us wish it were closer to one side or the other.)

With all this technology, the library wanted their users to be able to use their technology in the places that were the most comfortable for them. They decided to make sure that the wireless network within the library was completely saturated, even within the staff areas and to the areas directly surrounding the library. In the end, they had to hold off on complete saturations because of building costs, but an original plan of having power and plug-ins still provided access throughout the building. I hope that eventually they are able to go back and add more wireless nodes for their users.

The library was going to need some major IT support that the library could not provide for themselves. Campus IT became their partner, though this meant that they did have to give up a measure of control over their library systems.

David Walker is next.
In addition to their new building with new technology, they library needed a web site and infrastructure which would support this mission of technology access. The library wanted to use their web site as a promotional tool for their library. They did not necessarily want to include library news but highlight information that students and users actually want. They have a “spotlight area” which is basically a banner ad that runs at the top of their website and they change it often. They use it to advertise different library services or exhibits. The ads are slick, well done, simple, and get the information across. The user can actually click on the ad and receive more information on the service, exhibit, or building pictured. David puts a plug in for iStock Photo, which allows people to download pictures for a limited cost.

The Kellogg Library also began using SFX and Open URL to make access their electronic holdings easier for their students. They are not completely satisfied with the way SFX and the catalog are interfacing together, so they have created a new program which will place all of the information for the article the user needs on one screen. They even include a help area which descibes exactly how to find the article. The screen actually walks through the physical actions needed to find a print version of an article, complete with maps. (What a great idea!)