Although students these days often have digital resources at their fingertips thanks to personal computers and a WiFi connection, university libraries will always be important institutions that support faculty, staff, and students year-round. For one, university libraries serve multiple purposes and have transformed into more than just a book repository. Many libraries include computer stations, tech help centers, learning labs, classrooms, archives, and even cafes. Overall, they are not just academic centers, but also social meeting points for the university population.
Given a library’s activities, it’s important to make sure that it can serve all its patrons. Here are 3 ways to improve your library’s performance and turn it into a comfortable learning and teaching environment.
- Anticipate student tech needs.
A library usually serves as a key place where students feel like they can get work done efficiently. To be immediately effective, libraries should provide not just resources but tech tools that can help every student achieve their goals. And because students can forget items after traveling a long way to get to the campus library, it’s helpful for the institution to keep key tools and devices available for checking out.
Besides having dedicated in-house devices, libraries can provide charging cables for Macbooks, wholesale headphones for personal or library computer use, and even projectors, DVD players, and other devices for special projects. Extension cords or power strips can also be helpful, especially if various some rooms in your facility have few outlets or if students congregate to work in certain high-traffic areas.
Dedicated charging stations can also be a great tool for students who need to charge their own mobile devices. The Hamilton 10 Port USB charging station makes a great addition to a library floor where students can charge various types of devices in a safe way.
- Provide sensory control over spaces.
Though libraries are filled with all types of exciting technology and workspaces, libraries are still places for focused study and quiet research. With all these added applications, it can be hard to make sure the sound levels are controlled at every given moment. To create a balance between noisy and quiet areas, many libraries have structured collaborative areas for students to work in, such as soundproof study and collaborative rooms or designated floors for quiet areas.
Allowing for a mix of the two can serve the needs of every student, professor, or staff member that needs or provides help. Many students benefit from working near others and receiving support from both busier and quieter environments, so it is important for libraries to provide these noise-controlled areas.
- Work in a mix of adjustable and flexible furniture.
A library is essentially an office workplace, and to give people the motivation and comfort to work efficiently is an important element to creating a comfortable environment. Fitting your university with dual-purpose furniture, storage, and adjustable seating can help all students and faculty work productively.
Key pieces to include are adjustable sitting and standing desks that will allow students to move into a more comfortable posture after sitting or standing for too long. In addition, providing a range of seating arrangements–such as couches, tables and chairs, cushioned seats with built-in desks, and bean bags–can help provide a flexibility that is conducive to collaborative work and a more relaxed environment. Even mobile blackboards can be a great tool for library spaces because it gives students and teachers an ability to demonstrate, share, or practice various tasks and lessons.
Overall, a university library should not be overlooked when it comes to maintaining a productive and social campus environment. To learn more about how we can help you improve your library’s offerings, contact us.