Barton, Emily and Arlene Weismantel. "Creating Collaborative Technology-rich Workspaces in an academic library." Reference Services Review 35.3 (2007): 395-404.
Read via Emerald.
The essence of this article is how Michigan State went about creating small technology classrooms that provide spaces for collaborative learning. The article goes through the process from planning to implementation to assessment. Overall, it is pretty straightforward. Note that the funding for the rooms came from a provost initiative on the campus. This means other places may have to look to other resources of funding (grant writing, local campus tech initiatives, etc.).
I found useful the list of questions they provided for the information gathering phase of their plan. I think the questions may also be useful for reflection in places that already have collaborative technology rooms in place. Here are some of the questions then (see pg. 397):
- "Who uses your space? Is it used by people you originally intended to serve?
- How do you address technical support for the space?
- How do you schedule the space? Are there hours when the space is not available when the library is open?
- What are some of the security issues you have discovered? How do you handle them?
- Are you measuring the usage of your space? Do you have any data about what is more/less useful?
- What do users like best about your space?
- Please give us specific examples of projects or other work that students have done in your high tech facility. Could these projects have been completed if the facility didn't exist? How are they improved by the facility?"
The authors provide a useful summary at the end of the article under the heading of "lessons learned." I will quote them below (see pg. 403, italics in the original), with a thought or two:
- "Rely on other institutions." In other words, don't reinvent the wheel. Other places have done this. Find out what they did and learn from it.
- "Location, location, location."
- "Hold someone responsible." Basically, have someone in charge responsible for the design, the policies, etc., a coordinator.
- "Make sure library staff and librarians are aware of the features found in the laboratories and feel they are part of the libraries' mission as a whole." You need buy-in from the library staff. You may need to train some staff and educate them. I would add some training and time for them to try out some of the technologies.
- "Be wary of working with furniture and technology vendors." I think this is self-explanatory. Caveat emptor.