Evolving Library Space: From "Information Commons" to "Collaborative Learning Commons"
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The idea of the Information Commons in academic libraries has been around now for close to a decade. At the University of Southern California, Indiana University, University of Arizona, and a host of other institutions, the IC has allowed the library to remain relevant in the academic lives of undergraduate students. As we begin to better understand our newest generation of users and their expectations of us and our facilities, a new type of environment is envisioned, an amalgam of virtual convenience and physical comfort. The Collaborative Learning Commons brings together a wide assortment of elements to foster student learning in new and creative ways. It is not a static computer lab. Rather, it incorporates the freedom of wireless communication, workspace clusters that promote interaction as well as concentrated individualized work, and comfortable furnishings and design to make users feel relaxed, encourage creativity, and support peer-learning. To this, add some specialized software, audio-video capabilities, self-help graphics services, and color imaging, and you have got a one-stop place for out-of-class assignments, writing, research, group projects, individual study, and recreational usage.Bryan Sinclair is Associate University Librarian for Public Services at UNC Asheville