Archive for the ‘Renovation’ Category
Oh hai blog, I’ve missed you.
I’ve been taking a little step back from all things library this summer. We’re on a 9-month contract where I work but in the past I’ve always signed up for an additional summer contract and kept working through June, July, and August. This year, I decided to take June and July off (except for a few days here and there). I feel like I deserve a break after going through the tenure and promotion process this past year. I’m also trying to gear-up for our library reopening at the end of the summer. I’ve been feeling a little guilty about not being available while construction and other things are wrapping up. It’s so hard to take a step back… But at the same time I know that this break is imperative for my mental well-being. By the end of the spring semester I was feeling the need to create some space in my life in order to replenish my ideas and enthusiasm.
It’s been wonderful. I’ve been concentrating on my creative work—writing, reading, performing, sending work out for publication. I have lots of camping trips planned for July and I’m seeing old friends and making new ones. Making things… trying to build my community. I’ve been trying to do some things that are outside my comfort zone (reading my poetry at this house show, for example) and it’s great. Each time I do something that scares me it makes the next thing a little bit easier.
Some random updates in digestible list form:
- I’ll be presenting “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Post-Renovation Revelations” at the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) 2013 Annual Conference in Seven Springs this October with my colleague Melissa Gold.
- Our library renovation is on schedule and we will be reopening by the beginning of the fall semester.
- I’m tenured effective fall 2013! Still waiting to hear if I was promoted from Instructor to Assistant Professor.
- My poems “Renaissance Body” and “Tasks To Privilege” were recently accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of The Pinch Literary Journal. Stoked.
- I’ve been working on the Membership Committee of PaLA as part of my Director-at-Large responsibilities. We’ve been busy brainstorming creative ideas for recruitment and retention. Lots of good stuff.
- My trip to Italy was fan-freaking-tastic and made me want to go to all the places. Travel: you should do it.
How is your summer going? Anything fun in the works?
A few weeks ago I had the chance to visit the Charles & Gloria Jones Library, located in the Student Learning Commons at Lancaster Bible College. They just built a new facility and used the same vendor we’re using for our library renovation, so we were interested in seeing some of the furniture in action. It’s a truly amazing space—definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in the area. Despite my people-less photos, the library was packed with students the whole time we were walking through. Thanks to Lancaster Bible College for the tour and to Supply Source for lunch!
Row (left / right)
- Great use of curves to create unique spaces / High-tech collaboration station
- Out of the box room sign / Out of the box interior space for fun & inspiration
- Recycled pallet book displays! / Donor wall with modified card catalog & vinyl decals
- Clear signage (be still my heart) / The little details (basket) = all kinds of yes
- Items for sale in open stacks / Projected images on the wall behind the research help desk
On Wednesday I had the chance to attend NeoCon East, the “Premier Design Exposition for Commercial Interiors on the East Coast” in Baltimore, MD. I had fun checking out options for the library renovation, seeing design-y things, and experiencing my first non-library exhibit hall. Below are some observations and a few of my favorite things.
Library exhibit hall vs. design expo
- There were definitely more men at NeoCon than I’ve seen at ALA/library conferences. The age demographic there seemed to skew younger as well (although I’m not awesome at guessing ages). Most booths had both male and female representatives available to talk to customers and walk them through the floor.
- I almost hesitate to say this because I don’t want to offend anyone, but the NeoCon attendees were dressed a lot nicer than people I have seen at ALA/library conferences. I am generalizing here (on both sides) but I picked up on it right away. Maybe the designers/design students at NeoCon are more concerned with their visual aesthetic than librarians. There were also a hell of a lot more women in stilettos and other fancy shoes. Lots of suits. Lots of black.
- At four PM, free booze magically appeared. Everywhere! I saw a keg on the exhibit hall floor and multiple tables of bottled beer and wine. I got carded (what the what!) when I grabbed a glass. It was pretty cool – once people started drinking, everyone was sitting in the different pieces of furniture talking and hanging out. It was almost like the “sales pitch” was over and everyone was just having a good time. You could really tell which seating options worked for social atmospheres – those were the ones people gravitated towards.
- The NeoCon swag was pretty similar to ALA/library conferences. Lots of exhibitors had freebies – tote bags galore, stress balls, plastic watches, iPad covers, pens, candy, lip balm, etc. I didn’t see as many crazed people running around collecting ten of everything. People seemed a bit more reserved. That said, the one giveaway I really did want (a sweet canvas Herman Miller bag) ran out before I could get one. Luckily, our HM rep is awesome and is going to mail me one!
These are a few of my favorite things
Integra Bay Chair – My colleagues and I loved this seating option. It comes in 4 different seat widths and the tablet arm holds 300 pounds (their promo materials show someone standing on it!). You can add upholstered or wood arms, but I enjoyed the armless version. It’s fairly easy to push around and the cup holder feature is nice because it doesn’t eat up your limited tablet space (plus, you won’t accidentally knock your coffee over onto your laptop). I also really like the contrasting fabrics in this floor model. The pattern and solid combination seems to highlight the shape and accentuate the curves in this more fluid/free-form chair. I can see us incorporating some of these throughout our new library to offer a diversity of seating options for students. Maybe in bright accent colors?
Kimball Fit – Oh. My. Last week I was reviewing the furniture drawings for my workspace in the new library and our furniture supplier showed me the Kimball Fit “sling lounge” as a potential option (we also looked at the Herman Miller Tato, Tatino, Tatone and the Fatboy original beanbag). I’m looking for some fun pieces to use in my co-working space for creative group brainstorming sessions with library student employees/staff. I was really looking forward to testing a Fit at NeoCon and was getting bummed out as we walked through and didn’t see any. Then, at the same time, my colleague Greg and I spotted three of them. We pointed, looked at each other with glee, and headed over to test them out. You can probably tell from the huge smile on my face – I loved it! It was awkward sitting down the first time because you’re not quite sure it will hold you, but the material is stretchy and supportive. It feels almost like you are settling back into a hammock, really fun. Lightweight, can nest together for storage, and as we were leaving, we even saw two people sitting in one together! They do have a larger footprint, but I certainly think I could squeeze one of these into my new workspace!
Leland International – This was a really fun booth and I saw two of my favorite pieces there, the Ebb Bench (hollow) and the Brit Bench (blue). You can use connectors for both of them to hook up multiple pieces in different shapes, but I honestly liked them both as single, standalone pieces. The Ebb bench is very minimalist and modern. It would be great for hallways and the representative said they have done some in airports (although then they have to cap the ends). You can get it entirely upholstered, in wood veneer, or in wood veneer with upholstered “pads” (my fav). I was thinking this would work well in the new juvenile/curriculum center section, although we might have an issue with small children trying to climb inside. The Brit bench was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I think it would be perfect for the library entryway, where we are putting in a media wall with digital signage and inspirational quotes. This type of sculptural bench doesn’t lend itself to long waits, which is fine because it will be somewhat drafty in the entryway. At the same time, it provides a perfect spot to rest with your bags to meet someone before heading into the library. I love the three “prongs” too, it gives the bench a more social feel because you’re facing someone else any way you sit on it.
izzy+ Dewey 6-Top Table – I mean, it’s a whiteboard-topped table, what more can I say? Awesome.
I took a bunch of other photos at the show which you can see on my Flickr page. Leave a comment here or there and let me know which items you love, hate, could envision in libraries. Have any of you been to a trade show/exhibit floor beyond library conferences? Did you enjoy it? What was different and what was similar?
* A big thanks to Supply Source for inviting us to and escorting us around NeoCon!*
Took a few minutes on Thursday to do a walk through of our old library building before we hand it off to the contractors. All of the people, furniture, books, blinds, shelving and signage are gone. Pay particular attention to the image on the middle left – look at those power pop ups. This is our new reality – we need power and we need it everywhere. Plan ahead! Let the renovations begin!
Due to the library renovation taking place at MPOW (you can read more about the project here) the librarians are embedded around campus in different academic buildings. We tried to relocate each subject librarian to be near at least one of the departments they liaise with or, in some cases, in highly student-trafficked buildings. Some goals of the initiative are to improve library visibility to the entire university community, develop more meaningful and effective relationships with faculty, and provide research assistance more closely to the point-of-need for students (before, during, between, after classes, etc).
Another facet of this “experiment within an experiment” is that librarians will be holding regular open office hours – starting with three hours per week. As far as I’m aware, this hasn’t been done at Millersville in the past, but I am very excited to give it a try. It’s one of the many things we are adding to our “suite of services” since we are not staffing a traditional reference desk for the time being. Yes, you heard right, but that’s the topic of another post coming very soon so you’ll have to wait to learn more.
I think one challenge to offering librarian open office hours will be promoting it. It’s not simply a case of “if you build it, they will come.” Teaching faculty have class syllabi where they can list this sort of information and they also have the power of grading on their side. Some things I am doing (or are in the works) to promote my office hours include:
- The creation of this simple landing page which includes my contact information, subject areas, office location, photo and will eventually list my regular open office hours.
- QR codes leading to said landing page on my office door and courtyard-facing window.
- Emailed all faculty in my subject areas with my information, the landing page link, and the QR code inviting them to list it on their course syllabi.
- Will mention office hours in all of the library instruction sessions I teach this fall.
- Will have a sign on my door listing my office hours.
Problem #1: I have not set my hours yet (and have to within a week)! Has anyone tried this and had success or failure with any particular time slots or days? I suppose it depends on the institution, but I am interested in any feedback you have. I emailed an MU colleague and he suggested that late morning and lunch hour-ish tend to be best (between 10:30am-2:30pm). I also have to consider commuter students who have evening classes. Thoughts?
Problem #2: What am I not thinking of in terms of promoting this new initiative? How can I encourage students (or even faculty & staff) to stop by or schedule an appointment? All creative ideas are welcome!
*Note: Open office hours are not the only way we are providing research assistance to the university community during the renovation. I’ll also be doing at least 5 hours/week of virtual research assistance (monitoring phone, text messages, chat/IM & email inquiries) and we’re planning strategic “blasts” of in-person research help during the busiest times of the semester based on past statistics.*