Libraries Society of North America 31st Annual Conference
Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland - March 20-26, 2003
Back to the Future:
Space Design for Library Technology
Betsy Peck Learned, Roger Williams University
Susan Koskinen, University of California-Berkeley
Elisa Lanzi, Director
of Image Collections, Smith College. “Imagining an Imaging Center, Part II”
Reference and Instruction Librarian, Environmental Design Library, University of
California-Berkeley. “Library Classroom Design: Technology in Action”
Darlene Tong, Head of
Information, Research and Instructional Services, San Francisco State
University. “Head First: Taking the Building Project Plunge While Treading in
a Sea of Unknowns”
(Ed Dean, SMWM
Design, lead architect for the San Francisco State University project was unable
to attend due to a deadline)
Head, Environmental Design Library, University of California-Berkeley. “Dos
and Don'ts of Space Planning for Librarians”
Susanne Javorski, Wesleyan University
technology, new user demands, increases in user population and new programs are
all contributing factors in the need for libraries to rethink and redesign their
public service areas and staff work spaces.
This session included presentations on various projects – the
completion of a new imaging center, the reconfiguration of a library instruction
classroom, the planning of a $100 million building project and the retrofit of a
library for seismic safety.
Lanzi introduced her
presentation as a follow-up to “Imagining the Image Collection, Part I”, a
talk which she gave two years ago at the Visual Resources Association
conference. In Part II, she
describes the completion of the Brown Fine Arts Center at Smith College -- a $35
million project which houses the Art Department, Smith College Art Museum,
Imaging Center and Hillyer Art Library. The
building is largely in the footprint of the original 1972 building, yet it
provides 28% more space. The project architects were Polshek Partnership
Architects, New York. The new Imaging Center, a 7,000 square foot area,
incorporating the old with the new, brings together slides, photographs and
digital images. Important to
planning the layout of the space was an understanding of the six functions of
the Center: production, intellectual access, collections, patron services,
training and delivery. Following
the workflow of the Center, Lanzi provided a virtual tour and described each
functional area’s equipment, furnishings and staffing.
The presentation included images of the production studio (for
traditional photographic and digital image production), the cataloging area, the
slide and photograph collections, the new public services desk, faculty carrels,
public access computers and the digital image lab for training and preparing
students for giving classroom presentations. It also provided a description of
image delivery to classrooms and dorm rooms.
See http://www.smith.edu/bfac/ for details.
Susan Koskinen described the process of reconfiguring of a library instruction classroom at the Environmental Design Library, UC-Berkeley. No matter the size of the project, it is important to state clearly at the onset its purpose and objectives so as not to go astray mid-process. Define the problems that need to be resolved, look at all options and pay attention to timing. Start out with the best case scenario – the most modern, the most expensive – and hone down later. The key players in this project were librarians, library-oriented architects, computer systems personnel, audio-visual consultants and campus facilities personnel. The 16’ x 32’ classroom needed equipment upgrades, more seating, a handicapped accessible workstation and improved site lines between students and instructor. Workstations increased in number from 18 to 20. A side aisle gives access to the forward facing workstations equipped with low profile CPUs, flat panel monitors and adjustable-height chairs which eliminates the need for keyboard trays. The instructor’s workstation is comprised of an adjustable-height table on wheels, low profile CPU, flat panel monitor, and speakers. They chose not to use wireless technology in the classroom because it would slow down computer speed. Regarding the overall project: expect changes and adjustments to the plan; specifications need to allow for flexibility; and it’s helpful having architects attend all budget meetings.
Tong described San Francisco
State University’s Library’s $100 million renovation and expansion project.
The plan calls for bringing together the existing University Library, the
Center for the Enhancement of Teaching, the Audio-Visual/Instructional
Television Center and the Sutro Library, a branch of the California State
Library. The project includes a
high-density automated retrieval system in the six-floor addition, a multimedia
production studio, an auditorium, computer labs, multiple classrooms,
interactive video conferencing, a digitization center and a complete wiring
upgrade. The project’s initial
planning began in 1989 and has undergone various changes and architects. In Spring 2000, a new two-volume planning program was
completed. The guiding principles
of the plan include focusing on the “user side of the counter” and
consolidating similar services of the above named libraries and centers without
adhering to their current administrative structures. Tong talked about
challenges of being reliant on state orders.
In 2002 the project was fast-tracked by the Governor.
Space needs for 2006 had to be quickly identified and capital planning
for 2008 had to be immediately addressed. It
was soon learned that furniture and equipment to fill the building and
especially technology would require $15.5 million beyond the initial $100
million allocation. Tong stressed
the importance of keeping staff involved and the public informed.
She advised having project issues resolved before talking to the
architect and forewarned about being prepared for a new decision making style -
a move from slower academic consensus to the architect’s “time is money”
mode of operation. SMWM Design is
the project architecture firm.
Byrne began her presentation
with a brief description of the recently completed major renovation of
Berkeley’s Environmental Design Library.
Located in Wurster Hall, it was the first of 52 buildings on campus
slated for seismic retrofit. Architects for the project were Esherick Hansey Dodge and
Davis, all graduates of Berkeley and whose earlier work was library-oriented.
Planning for a two-story library began in 1997; construction began in
1999. Eight months into the
construction, the Dean halted the project and changed the plan. In the Fall of
2002, after three years in temporary quarters, the Environmental Design Library
was up and running in its new mostly one-story 15,000 sq. ft. space.
During the course of the project, Byrne developed a lengthy list of
“dos and don’ts” for librarians involved in space planning.
Some of her suggestions include: do start planning even at the rumor of
renovation; do learn architectural plans, codes, symbols and scales; do plan on
twice the budget and twice the time to complete; do think of what the architect
doesn’t -- book trucks, light switches, bulletin boards; don’t let the
architects push you around – stay firm in regard to functionality; do keep
staff informed and involved; do keep in constant dialogue (oral and written)
with the architects and keep documentation for the permanent record; do make
friends with the contractor; do talk to media and computer specialists; don’t
let architects select the color scheme; don’t expect everything to be perfect;
do have secure spaces for two and three-dimensional artwork; and do have a big
party to celebrate the project’s completion.
For a complete list of “Dos and Don’ts” see: http://www.library.njit.edu/archlib/aasl/meetings/, the Association of Architecture School Librarians (AASL) website.