Library takes Goya's words to heart

I Am Still Learning is the title of a sketch by Francisco de Goya (1746–1828). These words adorn a plaque near the west entrance to the Library Information Network Centre (LINC).

Goya's words serve as both inspiration and a reminder that after more than 45 years, the library still has lessons to learn – striving to be a dynamic environment that adapts to meet the needs of the University community.

Library staff members are continually looking for ideas and inspiration that can be purposed to suit our own user's needs. Recently, the staff ventured to the University of Calgary to tour the new Taylor Family Digital Library (TFDL).

The TFDL was formally opened in October 2011 to much fanfare in the library community and stands as a model for libraries to come.

Design aesthetics aside, the TFDL is committed to improvement as they continue to modify and redesign space to serve users. The library is already adding study carrels and changing group workroom furniture in response to the needs and demands of its clientele.

The U of L staff was treated to three distinct tours geared at highlighting the various aspects of the TFDL's environment and services. These included general, services and technologies tours, all of which were tailored to meet the interests of our staff.

"The tour really gave our staff a glimpse of what a true 21st century learning space can be," says Brenda Mathenia, associate University librarian. "The entire concept revolves around flexibility (demountable walls and multi-use spaces) and ubiquitous access to technologies.

The focus is on students and the technologies and tools they need, and expect to use, as they learn, share and ultimately create new knowledge and expertise. It's an exciting place to be!"

The new library concept offers a veritable playground of advanced and accessible technologies. Media equipped workrooms and interactive touch panels offer just a glimpse of the technological advances. A unique "visualization room" features a floor-to-ceiling/wall-to-wall high definition screen that can be utilized by astronomers, geologists and statisticians to visualize and analyze data in new ways.

"It's a great example of technology being incorporated into a building right from the design phase to meet the changing needs of users," says Allan Gergel, the library's information systems supervisor. "We were also provided a behind-the-scenes look at the building's infrastructure, which is key to delivering relevant technologies and future expansion."

One of the highlights on the services tour included an overview of the Learning Commons Service Desk, where patrons can borrow resources and get research assistance in one location, meaning no more wandering between desks looking for help.

Taking advantage of an opportunity to view a technology-rich educational facility such as the TFDL can only help U of L library staffers as they continue to search for ways to improve the client experience at the University of Lethbridge Library. Taking a lead from Goya, the library continues to evolve because regardless of how old we get, we are still learning.

This story first appeared in the June 2012 issue of the Legend. For a look at the entire issue in flipbook format, follow this link.