It doesn’t take long for technology that was innovative a couple of years ago to feel outdated, even in a high-tech space like the James B. Hunt Library at North Carolina State University, which won the 2014 Stanford Prize for Innovation in Research Libraries.
In an interview with Campus Technology, Emily Lynema, the associate director of IT and the director of academic technology at the library, says adding features such as a makerspace and bringing in “fellows” with new ideas can create libraries that will continue to serve the needs of multiple audiences.
Even with the latest technology, Lynema adds, it’s important to find out exactly how students and faculty are using the resources available and then make it even more accessible.
To stay relevant in the lives of today’s digital learners, university libraries are always looking for new ways to serve students, faculty members and other members of their community. As they continue to digitize resources that previously were only available in volumes on the shelves, they are also continuing to redefine library services by creating flexible spaces for learning and collaboration, or even private spots to have a cellphone conversation without leaving the library.
Following a popular trend in public libraries, some university libraries are even creating satellite or “pop-up” locations to give students experiences that might not be available within the library, in addition to hosting events that draw in the community. The Harvard Library, for example, created the “Labrary,” where students could display innovative creations, and the Kent State University Libraries partnered with other programs on campus to host a “maker faire.” Experts say the key is to gather ongoing feedback from library users about what is most valuable to them.