Library spaces for urban, diverse commuter students : a participatory action research project

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Library spaces for urban, diverse commuter students : a participatory action research project
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College and Research Libraries
Brown-Sica, Margaret S.
College and Research Libraries
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A data-gathering project using elements of Participatory Action Research was conducted at the Auraria Library, which serves the University of Colorado Denver, the Metropolitan State College of Denver and the Community College of Denver. The project was administered in order to shape a plan to develop a Learning Commons environment at the library. The researcher thought that the needs on a campus with many non-traditional, commuter students might differ from the needs of a more traditional college campus. Information was gathered using surveys, spontaneous focus groups, flipcharts and observation. Results were used and interpreted by students in an architecture class.
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217Library Spaces for Urban, Diverse Commuter Students: A Participatory Action Research ProjectMargaret S. Brown-Sica Margaret S. Brown-Sica is Associate Director for Technology Strategy and Learning Spaces and Assistant Professor in Auraria Library at University of Colorado Denver; e-mail: Margaret.brown-sica@ucdenver. A data-gathering project using elements of Participatory Action Research was conducted at the Auraria Library, which serves the University of Colorado Denver, the Metropolitan State College of Denver and the Community College of Denver. The project was administered in order to shape a plan to develop a Learning Commons environment at the library. The researcher thought that the needs on a campus with many non-traditional, commuter students might differ from the needs of a more traditional college campus. Information was gathered using surveys, spontaneous focus groups, ipcharts and observation. Results were used and interpreted by students in an architecture class. he Auraria Library serves three institutions of higher education: the Community College of Denver (which offers two-year vocational degrees), Metropolitan State College of Denver (which enrolls undergraduates), and the University of Colorado Denver (which ate programs). The library is one of the few places that bring all 50,000 students together on the shared urban campus, in which institutions occupy separate neighborhoods. Separation is further encouraged by increasing ethnic and international diversity, accomplished without an accompanying enrollment management program and student generation college students as well as nontraditionally aged studentsgrandmothers and veteransand a substantial percentage of disabled students. On this 99 percent commuter campus, most students have other responsibilities, such as work and families, that must be balanced with their school work, making time and money common concerns. In response to these unique campus demographics, the 2008 Auraria Library Strategic Plan placed a high priority on making e-resources readily available through the Web site, in recognition that many students come to class on campus pus as their schedules permit. In a companion initiative, because of the digital divide experienced by many students who lack computers with Internet access at home, the plan also placed a high prior ity on establishing a learning commons crl-221


218 College & Research Libraries May 2012 for the more than 6,000 visitors who enter the library on a typical weekday. Because planning at the Auraria Library emphasizes evidence-based decision making, a multiphase plan was designed to gather data to inform the learning spaces project. The researchers also hoped that the outcomes would help gain support for library renovation from campus stakeholders and donors. The recession presented challenges in regard to gaining approval and funds for library renovation. When a senior administrator visited the library, he emphasized that, although the budget was very strained at the present, this was a great time to plan. He said that departments who have gathered evidence and when more funds become available. This idea mirrors a sentiment in the article Top Ten Trends in Academic Librar ies: A Review of the Current Literature, which states that Increasingly, academic libraries are required to demonstrate the value they provide to their clientele and institutions. This trend is part of a broader accountability movement within higher education, resulting from demands from federal and state governments, accrediting bodies, employers, parents, and taxpayers for institutions to show the value of a college education and results of student learning outcomes.1 Participatory Action Research (PAR) was selected as the most appropriate methodology. This action-oriented approach promotes the very learning that it intends to further in reinvented library facilities. In particular, collaborative inquiry processes foster self-evaluation, engage participatory problem solving, and advance professional development. Therefore, PAR represents a distinctive social science research approach which is: The results and insights gained from the research are not only of theoretical importanceand therefore lead to practical improvements during The researchers are coworkers conducting research with and for the people concerned with the practical problem and its actual improvementnot an expert studying subjects. The relationships among coresearchers are egalitarian rather than hierarchical, because all par ticipants are assumed to be participating equally to the inquiry. Social inquiry is as sumed to generate solutions based on the views and interpretations of the people involved in the inquiryrather than on positivistic notions of right or wrong answers. 2 The methodology was therefore conducive to both developing relationships across the highly fragmented campus and using information to learn throughout the design and planning process.3 The research project aimed to advance the library mission to Engage your mind. Enrich your future. Therefore, planning activities involved campus constituencies, including senior academic leader ship at the provost and vice chancellor level, senior and middle management in of student governance assemblies and academic deans and directors. In addition, building on project success elsewhere, such as at San Jose State University and California Polytechnic University, which involved students enrolled in academic courses in library design initiatives, members of two architectural studio classes generated recommenda4 Their investigations focused on two main questions: What types of physical environment, technology, and services are needed to support and enhance the learning and research experience of the Auraria Library community? and How could the Library involve campus students, faculty, the (re)design concept?5 These guiding questions provided ample opportunities to pursue the larger question of What


is a library? as well as more granular questions. The project culminated in charette which brought together stakeholders such as architects, univer sity administration, library employees, campus planners, campus faculty and tion based on this research. The word which a diverse group of people, designsolutions to design challenges. The PAR process advanced under standing through iterative review pro both library and campus stakeholders. In doing so, the researchers avoided the space planning situation at other acaclude library users in the change planning process such as the process documented in the article If at First You Dont Succeed Creative Transformation at a Small Academic College. As Johnson writes: In retrospect, it is easy to see why the changes did not work. For the most part, the changes were ones modeling ideas that students themselves might have selected. Also, students, that input apparently was that students agreed with their ideas but, it seems, interpreted them differently and expected them to result in structural changes, not aesthetic to learn, the changes did not adstudents were using the library and technology.6The Auraria Library researchers and planners wanted to avoid making similar mistakes, and therefore used Participatory Action Research to avoid library-centered rather than user-centered decisions. In addition, Auraria researchers believed that higher education is changing, especially in relation to teaching methods. They explored these changes in conversation with teaching faculty and instructional designers. Insights corroborated current library research. For instance, Thomas improving the academic experience, including three keys: Todays libraries serve multiple roles on college campuses. Each comes with its own dethat promote group study and collaboration, which is critical to student success, then provide individual, quiet, contemplative spaces that blend the formal and informal to suit the divergent learning styles of each individual. To achieve chose to focus on creating specialty spaces including cafes, lounges, and meeting places for student activities. Capturing the student perspective is critical in planning a successful library. Encourage students to participate in town hallstyle meetings, focus groups, and advisory councils, or engage a student representative to join the planning com expectations and what they would like to experience as end users. Bring into the discussion other end-user groups such who can share their perspectives for a fuller understanding of how the library is to be designed. Collabo ration has changed nearly every facet of pedagogy and, therefore, every aspect of design. Students are encouraged to discover and share knowledge with other students while professors assist in this collaborative discovery process. The a sage on the stage to a guide on the side. This new approach to learning and teaching requires spaces that promote group interaction and discussion. Con-


220 College & Research Libraries May 2012 sider breakout areas, group study rooms, and videoconferencing spots to allow for the healthy cross-fertilization of ideas.7Participatory Action Research search (PAR) commonly state that the subjects of the study perform some of the research and/or interpret the data themselves, with the aim of learning from the process to generate evidence to improve an existing problem. The people on whom the research is based are referred to as participants8 rather than subjects. The research can involve people of any age or profession. For example, researcher Alice McIntyre reports on her PAR experiences of guiding 9and 10-year-old Latina participants to explore what it means for them to be girls.9 Another essential element of PAR is its cyclical nature. Researchers and participants work through stages of exploration, knowledge conthroughout the research process.10PAR grew out of action research developed at the end of World War II. Since then, it has been continuously shaped by social science researchers investigating a wide variety of arenas, including civil rights and anti-racism movements, feminism, community development, and so on.11 According to Reason and Bradbury, action research: peoples desire to act creatively in the face their lives in organizations and communities; in collaborative relationships, opening new communicative spaces in which both in the evidence that is generated in inquiry and its expression in diverse forms of presentation as well as sharing learning with wider audiences; communities, and the wider ecology in which we participate; cannot be predetermined but changes and develops as those engaged deepen their understanding of the issues to be addressed and develop their capacity as coinquirers both individually and collectively.12PAR in Libraries Inspiration for the research came from collaborative and stakeholder-developed studies at the University of Rochester,13 California Polytechnic State University,14 and Carleton College.15 The Rochester study used an anthropological approach to studying student needs and behavior in the library. The Auraria study used multiple methods like the Rochester study to experiences, such as being observed, working in a group, or responding to a survey to give a more view of library needs. The Carleton College project studied how students use visual materials in their studies. Researchers there used from faculty and students while they worked on projects to follow how the users incorporated these materials. The they were actually working on a project vey/focus groups. The California Polytechnic State University study engaged students in humancomputer interaction, technical writing, and new media courses to generate recommendations for new library systems, services, and programs. The California Polytechnic State University use of focus groups and interest in learning communities led to the Auraria Librarys use questions regarding how library users work in groups. An important nonlibrary Project.16 In this partnership between the University of Colorado Denver College of Architecture and Planning and Denver


Public Schools, information was gathered from the community and students to build playgrounds that encourage learning and physical activity. This showed the Auraria groups that PAR can help gather information that can make a physical place more useful. In recent years, libraries have increasingly employed inclusive and innovative methods to gather information for library decision making. Some of these studies have also intentionally engaged subjects in data interpretation and presentation. In Collaborative Design: A LearnerCentered Library Planning Approach, Somerville and Collins present user-centered approaches for (re)designing library spaces at California Polytechnic State University and San Jos State University.17 These studies included student-generated research projects as part of class projects, which informed design of a new learning commons. Administration of EDUCAUSE Learning Spaces Tool surveys included distributing disposable cameras to take pictures of, for example, favorite places to meet others to work together. In both instances, students were involved in research project design and implementation, as well as data interpretation and presentation. When implementation decisions were subsequently based on student recommendations, students were then invited to evaluate the facilities changes. in PAR in library research. PAR has been used more widely in libraries. This could be because of the popularity of the method in the social sciences such as education. An example is in the article Creation of a Research Community in a K School System Using Action Research and Evidence Based Practice.18 In this article, the authors used action research to ensure that students were ethical users of ideas and information. The authors had success using the method to move the library information use and instruction curriculum to an evidence-based model that addressed such as correct citing methods among middle school students. Learning Commons Elements of the learning commons developed in an iterative fashion, as decision makers, researchers, and end and dialogue: 1. Check each wish list item against: the mission of the library and each institution; and the perceptions of the decision makers category of stakeholders. 2. Organize into immediate priority Consider whether it is the librarys mission to actually provide a particular service/technology OR a container/space for that service/technology to be made available. 3. Consider having a smaller number of options (services, technologies, equipment, and so on) and have them working well, reliably, and sustainably rather than a lot of new initiatives that cannot be mainData were generated from the following research methods: Blank jour nals would be placed at the service desks. People working at the desk would jot down observations and user comments. This information would be documented and analyzed. Four notebooks were par of comments. This consisted niture and technology were put and the use of these things was observed. These observations were listed in the journals above. charts were placed around the library with an opening sentence such as: What I would like to see in the library. Six


222 College & Research Libraries May 2012 This was linked from the library homepage. On a few occasions, a librarian set up several computers and paper surveys near the front door of the library. Users were recruited as they came out a survey such as candy bars, drinks, were by far the best recruiting tool. There was no incentive to take the survey via the Web site. The survey had questions that covered general user preferences for a library environment and services. A total of 374 responses were received on this survey. People working in a group in the library were approached by a library employee and asked several questions. This survey was also sent to people who had recently booked a group study room. While the number of surveys or focus groups was small (38), most of the surveys were administered to groups that consisted of 3+ people. that were not initially planned at the beginning of the study: two architecture classes based on reinventing the library in the University of Colorado School of Architecture and ing many stakeholders to come up with ideas for renovating the library. Survey information was gathered and analyzed in the Web survey instrument Zoomerang. Qualitative answers were hand-tagged by using Zoomerang to assign words and comments to subject areas. Flip chart information was put into Zoomerang in text and analyzed with the same tagging procedure, as was the observation journal information. An external statistician was hired using a University of Colorado Denver faculty development grant to review analysis and provide additional analysis. Throughout, the emphasis was on using research for action and using information to learn. As a consequence, when a mester 2010, there was a consistent vision among the campus participants,19 who original vision of main streets with storefronts for service points and consynergy and collaboration. In response to conversations among administrators, tenant-built caf was included in the Appendix A for a list of Phase 1 initiatives. Results: Environment Furniture In the Web survey, pictures were shown to illustrate several types of furniture. Users were able to rate the furniture from 1 (least preferred) to 10 (most preferred). Respondents did not have to rank the choices and could have chosen any number for any option. As can be seen in table 1, many of the kinds of furniture hover around the 50 percent approval Study Furniture, and Booths. Flexible and Modular furniture were rated lower. It appears that there are not strong prefer ences in this area, except toward furniture that is relatively traditional. In the obser vation journals, furniture improvement is mentioned in 6 percent of all entries. In response to the question, If there was one thing you could change about the users mentioned furniture 25 percent of of twenty-four respondents mentioned furniture as a good way to improve the library environment. During the research project, several furniture companies allowed the Auraria servations were then noted in the service desk journals. By far the most popular item was the MediaScape by Steelcase. This includes a table, chairs, two large monitors, and wiring and a KVM switch that allow users to plug in laptops and switch monitor displays between sev -


eral laptops. Furniture improvement is a strong theme, but there does not seem to be a strong preference for a certain type of furniture. The continued interest in traditional library furniture, desks and chairs, and the interest in the MediaScape need to get down to work as opposed to socializing. It might be interesting in the future to ask which kind of furniture Electricity/Outlets/WiFi The library cannot add more electrical outlets without a major electrical upgrade. However, the data support that this upgrade would be one of the best investments that could be made. In table 1, 25 percent of the respondents stated that more computers would be the most important change in the library (which is not possible without the upgrade) and 12 percent believe that more outlets are the most important improvement that could from the Web survey (Question 2) places laptop ownership at 88 percent. This statistic alone indicates that, to make sure library users are supported, the library needs to have laptop outlets widely available and excellent wireless service. Responses to a question regarding which services would be desirable in the library, Electrical Outlets were important to 73 Study survey, Electrical Outlets are bute in a group study area. This shows an overwhelming need for extended electrical infrastructure in the building. More Room and Noise The Auraria Library is a small building for and 145,657 assignable square feet. There is a theme in the data that advocate for a larger library. In table 1, users requested a More Space/Bigger Library 13 percent of the time. Noise is a consistent theme in several areas of the data collected. Web survey question number 4 (What Would Help Users Achieve Their LearnLibrary?), noise issues are mentioned 13 percent of the time also. Those surveyed in the Web survey regarding their favor ite place to study, Less Noise was the choice. Selected Comments Sometimes actual quotes are more infor mative than percentages. Select comments from users regarding the library environUpdate the bathrooms Hard to accomplish but to remind visitors to use their library voices Vending machines that stock healthy, inexpensive foods & take debit or credit cards. TABLE 1 Web Survey Question 8Open Ended Question: If there was one thing you could change about the 1st Changes Percentage (More) Computers 25% More/Better Furniture 25% More Attractive Environment 14% More Space/Bigger Library 13% Electrical Outlets 12% Less Noise 11% Closed Study Rooms 10% More Food/Drink Options 8% Community User Complaints 5% Improve Printing 4% Improve Navigation 3% Make the Library Cleaner 3% Improve Entrance 3% Build More Bathrooms 3% Improve Lighting 2% Be Open More Hours 1% Better WiFi 1%


224 College & Research Libraries May 2012 retrieve articles only available in print in the library Have some tutors Camera checkout/movie rental/ Colors: its dreary! Results: Technology In the Web survey, users were asked about the technology respondents use on a regu lar basis. This was asked to help shed light on what kinds of technology the library should support. When comparing these results to the ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009,20 the percentage of laptop owner ship is almost the same: 88 percent. However, the use of Internet-capable phones is higher in the ECAR study (33.6% vs. 21% in the Auraria study). Of those who use a laptop, over 80 percent also use a cell phone, Internet-capable phone, or PDA. In the Auraria study, those who use an Internet-capable phone are more likely to also use other technology, such as scanners, audio devices, and video equipment. was of note at 12 percent. The task force to include audio or video content in their assignments and if the library should support this need. In table 2, Web Survey Question 9, students were asked about such assignments. More than one-third (39%) reported that his was the case. If this many students need to manipulate digital media, the library needs to provide technology that supports this process including such items as sound recorders, video Employees should also have knowledge of such tools. Table 2 also documents that 71 percent of those surveyed need to give presentations in class. Presentation practice areas would be another service that should be provided, along with any technology such as large monitors, projectors, and video recording equipment. Results: Services The results in table 3 are in response to the following Web survey question: What types of services would be helpful in the library? Mark as many as apply. The data indicate that users desire a writing center, eating area, and tutoring. There is inter est in being able to make a reservation for research help, which is remarkable because this service already exists. This indicates that it should be expanded and likely to also want tutoring services. Other responses echo issues that have already been covered above. There are also documented needs for electrical outlets, scanning equipment, and presentation practice rooms. Other requests were: application help, a representative from each college IT department, and the ability to reserve a computer, which also indicates that there are not enough computers. The TABLE 2 Web Survey Question 9Do any of your assignments require the following? Attribute Percentage Audio or video/visual resources incorporated in your assignments 39% The use of citation software (such as Zotero, Endnote, etc.) 32% Group work or study 73% The use of social applications such as wikis, blogs, etc. 24% Statistical analysis 32% Presentations 71% Other 9%


need for the ability to reserve need on an urban commuter campus where many students are paying for parking or need to get their research done at a get to work or back to a family. The library currently has a There isnt really any furnidesigned for eating. However, it is common to see a student sitting on the floor eating a sandwich brought from home. of the campus, which includes many students who are from low economic backgrounds and/or are working to support their studies. Concerns about cleaning up food waste, both now and in the future, came up numerous times in various response sections. In the group survey, there was no specific question on food options. However, 29 percent of respondents menlocation. Both ambiance and beverages were mentioned as reasons. On Web Survey Question 4, which asked about food offerings (free response), 20 percent of the responses included the word healthy. There were many requests for credit card or debit card options. A surprisingly large number of responses asked for no food options. Many of these specifically mentioned the large amount of food trash currently in the building. Many requested longer hours of food service. The interest in vending machines was higher than anticipated, but it should be noted that they are a common occurrence in most campus buildings. Nearly half (45%) of all survey respondents were not interested in having an eating area in the library. Of these, the majority was simply not interested, and the remainder was concerned about the mess and noise level. Results: Group Work/Study Needs concentrated on the issue of group work in the library. The total sample size of this survey was only 38. The margin of error in the results may be high because of the the consolidation of the opinions of 3+ us TABLE 3 Web Survey Question 7What type of services would be helpful to have in the library? Mark as many as apply. Service Percentage Laptop plug-ins (electrical outlets) 73% Writing Center 59% Eating Area 54% Tutoring 54% Reserve Research Help 43% Scanning Station 39% Computer Application Assistance 38% Presentation Practice Room 31% News and Weather Information Area 29% Additional Software 28% Representative from main IT Department 25% Ability to Reserve a Computer 24% Video Editing Equipment 18% TABLE 4 Web Survey Question 3What kind of additional food/drink op tions would you like to see available in the library? Choices Percentage Vending Machine/Snacks 23% Hot Beverages 22% Caf Choices (Pizza, Burrito, Smoothies) 20% Cold Drinks 17% Prepackaged Sandwiches/ Salads 16% Fast Food 9%


226 College & Research Libraries May 2012 ers. However, despite the accuracy issues, the results are still of interest because of the high percentage (73%) of users who do engage in group work (according to the Web survey) in the library and the great necessity for the library to do as much as possible to make this work productive. Demographics and Activities As seen in table 5, half of all survey respondents are between 25 and 40 years old. Sixty-nine percent of respondents are full-time students. One fourth of fulltime students are also employed full time. Although only 69 percent of the responearlier in this article). It indicates that the small population of dorm residents was disproportionately represented or that, although students dont live on campus, they may not identify as commuters for the ages of 25 and 40, and 31 percent are employed full time. Ten percent are parents with young children. The vast majority of groups were studying, and most of this work had to do with a group project. One group was using the area as a dramatic rehearsal area. The results in table 7 were possibly study. The frequency of meeting for group work was much higher than anticipated. The fact that more than 40 percent of samples indicated meeting at least once a week and as much as three times per week is noteworthy. That the students on this campus are overwhelmingly commuters makes the importance of places to meet a priority for the library, as well as other campus buildings. Observation Journals and Flip Charts There were 152 entries in journals at the service desks from library employee observations or comments by library users. Entries were free form and less focused on the library environment than the information gathered in the surveys. Responses ranged from comments about the temperature in the library to information on the library Web site. Despite the TABLE 5 Group Study Survey Question 1Who will be attending the group study session? Pick all that apply. Attribute Percentage Students 92% Commuter Student 69% Full-time Student 58% Age 25-40 50% 45% 34% Employed Full-time 31% Age 18-25 28% Live with Parents 22% Faculty 21% Age 40-60 14% 11% Parent with Young Kids 11% Staff 5% Dorm Resident 3% TABLE 6 Group Study Survey Question 2What are you working on today? Activity Percentage Studying 74% Group Project 53% Researching 34% Meeting Tutor 5% Rehearsing a Performance 3% TABLE 7 How Often Do Respondents Meet to Work in Groups?Frequency Percentage 1-3 Times Per Week 42% 1-2 Times Per Month 36% Rarely 14% 3+ Times per Week 8%


never take a survey or comment on problems. This issue of navigation and temperature were recognized as major issues due to this feedback. Some comments were: ing too hot in the library. They were correct. It was very hot in the library this weekend. popular. Large board is used in the evening in the back as a wall. I suggest more midsized whiteboards. gether to share stations, though many are happy with their own! open space and asked if we will get more tables or computers. were somewhat random, which was expected from such an unstructured venue. The most common subjects for comments were: desks Some of the most interesting com ments were: puters (no Facebook, YouTube, and the like) Study Outcome Overview Overall, the stakeholders and users of the library on this diverse, largely com muter campus agreed on what they want in a library. They want a building environment that is comfortable, clean, quiet, and secure. They want services to support research such as writing centers, tutoring, and improved collections. They want services that are available when variety of information, some issues were commented on the most: Computer issues 26% Study rooms 14% Navigation 13% Problems with printing 11%. The value of this type of information is in bringing up issues that are not mentioned on the surveys and the observation of issues from people who might TABLE 8 Group Study Survey Question 5Where is the best place to meet and why? Location Respondents Auraria Library 20 Group Study Room 14 First Floor of the Library 6 Campus Classroom 4 Student Union (Tivoli) 4 Restaurant 3 Why Respondents Quiet 7 Space to Spread Out 6 Projector 3 Central Location 3 Whiteboards 2 Computers 2 TABLE 9 Group Survey Question 6What type of technology or software might help with your group study work? Technology Respondents Projector/Monitor 12 Wireless Access 8 Electrical Outlets 5 Whiteboards 5 Specialized Software 3 Computers 3 Printers 2 Scanner 1 No Other Technology 4


228 College & Research Libraries May 2012 they are: research help by appointment, the ability to check out technology they may not own or dont want to bring to campus. They want things that directly support their curriculum: dynamic media editing stations, fully equipped presentation and group study areas, and furniture and technology that support group work. They want equipment like the following: technology such as laptops, video and still cameras, audio recorders and nontechnoland whiteboards. The users seem to want the campus demographics. The following is an excerpt from the recommendations areas, with and without walls; include such things as whiteboards, furniture, monitors, electrical outlets, and switches to change display from one computer to another. options (that are easy to access) for research help, computer access, equipment, and study rooms. Try to make reservations available by mobile device so that students can make reservations, although they might not have access to a computer while commuting or on campus. for use by groups or multimedia projects. ment is available online, in the library, and at the service desks. cations on all the computers. tive food and eating areas. users, such as paging, texting, or instant messaging help especially when computers are full. is hospitable. Cleanliness, security, and comfortable furniture should be taken into consideration. Interpretation of Data An important part of PAR is the interpretation of data by the people being studied. Throughout, researchers involved users in considering the decision-making implications of research results. For instance, an rado Denver College of Architecture and Planning involved two courses in generating redesign recommendations for the Auraria Library. The professor and students considered the diverse data sets and, in addition, met with library employees and master planners. They made mid-semester very esoteric and did not address all the data gathered, the class was a success in several ways. Campus planners from the three institutions on the Auraria Campus, the original planner of the Auraria campus who had worked with the architect, and several prominent local architects were recruited to address the class and serve reviews. The students raised their own money to travel to Chicago on spring break to see other buildings designed by the original architect, Helmut Jahn. As a result, the cause to renovate the library, long deferred, developed real campuswide support. of the project is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2011. Additional classes that have worked on projects based on the results of the information gathered are a Metropolitan State College of Denver Human Factors Engineering class and a senior civil engineering group from the University of Colorado Denver in the spring of 2011. Such initiatives place the library at the heart of student learning. Conclusion The benefits of using a Participatory Action Research approach were much


Project Scope NotesPhase 1 Project, AHEC Library 3.23.11 Increased opportunities for natural light should be explored. Other functional areas to be included in this area are: 2 Conference Rooms (one large, one small). 2 Processing Areas for receiving and interlibrary loan holding and reserves and including 2 copiers/fax. Mail and receiving area. 2 unisex rest rooms (optional). bution of media and reserves. 6 rooms are desired. Some rooms may be built in later phases depending on project cost. Rooms should be high tech upgradable. Some rooms may be divisible into 2 separate study spaces. will include a 3-compartment sink and electrical power for caf appliances including refrigeration, microwave oven, dishwasher, and other appliances to be supplied by Seating will be at moveable tables that also serve as study areas with access to power presentations, and music. greater than anticipated. For instance, while the data were interesting and illuminating to the Auraria Library researchers, the greater outcome was research. As a consequence, decisions in the library are increasingly based on evidence. Strengthened connections with students and faculty in several departments predict sustainable learning partnerships. Evidence-based planning fortified by strong relationships with master planners and senior leaders at the three institutions predict support for Phase 2 initiatives as well. The library is now poised for both renovation and regoal two years ago.


230 College & Research Libraries May 2012 review or to accommodate the design of the caf. The current front desk area needs to be expanded to accommodate research and technical Consequently, it will not be part of scope of the phase 1 project. including the art gallery, adjacent to the rest rooms (east side) will be demolished to create open seating and study area. part of the scope of this project. other existing library space; the scope of this project phase does not include provisions that can be implemented in phases as renovation projects are undertaken. desirable to be included in the scope of the project. Furniture for public areas may be excluded from the project scope. A concept design for the future Main Street Desk should be a part of the scope of design services.


Notes 1. Top Ten Trends in Academic Libraries, 71 n. 6, Action Research in Higher Education (London: Kogan Page Limited, 1992). 3. Christine Bruce, Informed Learning (Chicago: American Library Association, 2008). 4. Mary M. Somerville, Working Together: Collaborative Information Practices for Organizational Learning (Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2009). 5. Brown-Sica, Margaret, Karen Sobel, and Erika Rogers. 2010. Participatory action research in learning commons design planning. New Library World 111 (7/8): 302-319. Available online at 6. Johnson, Rita. 2009. If at First You dont SucceedCreative Transformation at a Small Academic College, Technical Services Quarterly 26, no. 2:107-124. 7. T. Sens, Twelve Keys to Library Design: Improving the Academic Experience, Library Journal 134, no. 9 (2009): 34. 8. Alice McIntyre, Qualitative Research Methods Series 52: Participatory Action Research (Los Angeles: Sage, 2008), 1. 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid. 12. Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury, Introduction, in Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, 2nd ed., eds. Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2008), 1. Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester (Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2007). 14. Somerville, Mary N. and Navjit Brar, 2010. From information to learning commons: campus planning highlights. 111, no 5/6: 179-188. 15. L. Nixon, H. Tompkins, and Paula Lackie, Curricular Uses of Visual Materials: A Mixed Method Institutional Study, available online at CUVMStudy/ 16. Bambi Yost, Planning and Design for Healthy Child Development: Mapping Places of Play and Prey with Denver Kids (Paper presented at the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Conference, March 2007, Denver, Colo), available online at Yost%202007%20RMLUI%20handout%20-%20mapping%20with%20kids.pdf 17. Somerville, Mary M., and Lynda Collins. 2008. Collaborative design: a learnercentered library planning approach. Electronic Library no. 6:803-820. K School System Using Action Research and Evidence Based Practice, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice 4 (2009): 2, available online at php/EBLIP/article/view/5020/5319 19. Somerville, Mary M., and Margaret Brown-Sica. 2011 Library space planning: a participatory action research approach. Electronic Library 29, no 5:669-681.; Brown-Sica, Sobel, and Rogers, Participatory Action Research in Learning Commons Design Planning. and Judith Caruso, The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009, Educause Center for Applied Research, available online at