Browsing Cunningham Memorial Library by Subject "library-as-place"
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Bowling Alone in the Library: Building Social Capital on CampusIn 2007 the authors read a paper at PCA/ACA exploring the library-as-place movement through the lens of sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s third-place concept, and posited that the academic library can be redefined as a third-place for the campus and surrounding communities. Related to the third-place concept is Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, written by Harvard Professor of Public Policy, Robert Putnam. In this work Putnam provides extensive and compelling statistical evidence supporting his claim that social capital is critical in enabling communities to work together to address shared and individual goals. Putnam demonstrates that communities with high social capital are better educated, healthier, vote more, are more altruistic, and more prosperous than those with weaker social networks. In this thought-piece the authors revisit Oldenburg’s third-place concept using Putnam’s construct to explore how the academic library can conceptualize a methodology of establishing social capital on campus to convincingly advocate for their library and compete for diminishing campus resources.
From Storehouse to Clubhouse: Collection Management in the Library as PlaceFor the past two decades people have been responding to profound societal changes brought about by the increasing digitization of information and the ubiquity of the internet. Believing that all information is mobile and stressed by shrinking budgets, administrators and policy makers are beginning to consider closing libraries in favor of offering a suite of online services. In response to this challenge to demonstrate the relevancy of the library proper in an increasingly digitized world, the library as place movement has emerged. Many libraries have adopted new models of service that have transformed library space into a place for social gathering and community engagement. Mirroring this phenomenon, traditional collection management practices in libraries are being re-evaluated. This presentation examines the changing collection management practices at two public, Indiana universities. At Indiana State University (ISU) and Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) how the collection is developed, preserved, displayed, weeded, and circulated has transformed in response to the new demands of the library as place. Included in the presentation are practical, real-world examples of collection management practices that maintain the traditional role of the library as the preserver of our culture, while adopting the new role of a vibrant community center.
Reshaping Spaces and Rethinking Roles: Reference as PlaceFor the past two decades people have been responding to profound societal changes brought about by the increasing digitization of information and the ubiquity of the internet. Such change has affected libraries dramatically. Librarians have been so successful at extending information resources and services into the cyber-community that some administrators and policy-makers have begun questioning the need for maintaining the physical library. In response to this challenge a body of literature called the “library as place” has emerged in which the integrity of the library proper is examined and redefined. Mirroring this phenomenon, the traditional onsite reference desk is also being re-evaluated. Some believe that, in light of the recent growth of online reference service, the century-old reference desk is now redundant. Many librarians are redefining traditional reference spaces. For some, this has been a gradual process, in which the reference desk has mutated over time; for others, change has come swiftly and has meant a bold redesign of service. This presenation examines onsite reference service at two public, mid-western universities. At Indiana State University (ISU) the library adopted the “Borders bookstore” philosophy several years ago. Community programs such as lectures, meetings, and film series are conducted within the reference desk area. In the midst of such atypical surroundings the desk, and the role of the reference librarians, has developed —— retaining some traditional traits while adopting new characteristics. In contrast, at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), the change was more dramatic. The general reference desk was dismantled and librarians provide reference assistance on a scheduled appointment basis where uninterrupted one-on-one consultation takes place. But as in the ISU example, this reshaping of the physical environment heralded an alteration in the librarians’ role.
The Library As “Third Place” in Academe: Fulfilling a Need for Community in the Digital AgeToday’s highly technological society is causing people to lose their personal connections and sense of community. In his book The Great Good Place, sociologist Ray Ohlenburg identifies the need people have for a “third place” after home and work that provides for community interaction and socialization with others. In the academic community on college and university campuses, students, faculty and administrators are looking for a place on campus that provides a learning environment allowing a community of scholars to interact with one another. We contend that the library with its new mission as a center of learning and collaboration can truly become the heart of the campus or the third place within the university community. We will explore academic library services at two mid-sized publicly supported universities in Indiana, one a residential campus and one a commuter campus, to show how these two libraries are giving their own unique vision to a revised mission for libraries in the 21st century as a “third place” for students and scholars to meet, collaborate and socialize.