Planning Principles for the Georgia Southern Library Expansion
by Ann Hamilton
Donald Beagle published an article in the March 1999 issue of the Journal of Academic Librarianship entitled "Conceptualizing an Information
Commons" in which he pointed out that "The past decade has seen the emergence of a new model for service delivery in the academic library, . . . .1
In his article he described several trends that are "now playing themselves out in the University environment."2 Most of those trends are occurring in
Georgia and at Georgia Southern. They include
"A number of . . . trends have begun converging over the last several years to make distance learning a high priority issue on campuses across the
United States. First, the private sector move to a knowledge-based economy places a premium on lifelong retraining and continuing education, at the
same time that personal work schedules make it impractical for many adults to avail themselves of traditional classroom instruction. Second, the cost of
a traditional college education has risen more rapidly than inflation for a number of years, . . . .
Tax-supported universities are increasingly subject to
legislative mandates to explore alternative delivery modes. This trend has been coupled with an increased level of taxpayer demand and activism,
prompting universities to pay much closer attention to prospective students in geographically remote locations. Finally, the emergence of the Web has
driven a number of universities to explore the concept of a "virtual campus."3 For example, Georgia Southern is part of a consortium that will offer a
web based MBA program beginning in January 2002, and the Georgia GLOBE project continues to develop.
"The academic library's unique problem is to integrate access to data resources from across all academic disciplines in a way that is transparent to a
user from any discipline. This is not simply a matter of courtesy. It will become an increasingly important issue with the rise of interdisciplinary studies. . .
. Open system architecture . . . permits simultaneous parallel searching of the vast array of digital resources, including the OPAC . . ..4 Georgia
Southern has a history of offering interdisciplinary studies that even cross colleges. For example, an art professor and a geology professor I know are
developing an interdisciplinary course.
Private sector collaboration:
"Private sector firms are increasingly using client-server network technology to expand the field of knowledge management, which involves capturing
and encoding the "mission critical" knowledge of key experienced personnel in various types of online databases and resource files. Such knowledge
base files can then be accessed by corporate staff from around the country or around the world by means of the company intranet/Internet connection.
As companies increasingly discover the potential of such proprietary knowledge base resources in today's competitive marketplace, they will be looking
to universities to prepare students in the groupware and collaborative technologies, . . ., that form the core of today's knowledge management
technology. Through the physical spaces of its networked collaborative study rooms and the virtual space of its client/server open architecture system,
the (newly designed library) creates an . . . opportunity for proactive participation in this critical area.5
Under pressure from technological innovation and economic constraints, universities are recognizing the critical need for faculty development, and the
role of the library in support of faculty development will loom ever larger in the future. For example, the University of Southern California's library . . .
physically houses the USC's Center for Excellence in Teaching. The physical space of the (library), including collaborative networked group study
rooms and interactive classrooms, will also serve to enhance the library's support of the new wave of collaborative learning environments and
presentation technologies that continue to develop.6 We're following USC's and other library models by planning for the CET to be part of our
In July I attended a workshop on library space planning presented by Aaron and Elaine Cohen from Aaron Cohen Associates - the library consulting firm
that worked with Lyman, Davidson, Dooley on the program design for our building. They pointed out that libraries used to be planned for storing
collections. Now they're planned for users. Ideally at least 50% of a library should be user space. That is an example of what was considered in our
Georgia Southern's Library Program Design Program
Since most Library Committee members have not had an opportunity to read the building program document, it might be helpful to go over the design
principles included there. These principles were reinforced in the Cohen workshop, and the same general principles were followed at the libraries at
Eastern Michigan University and Emory University.
1. Beagle, Donald, "Conceptualizing an Information Commons," Journal of Academic Librarianship, 25: 82.
3. Ibid., 87.
4. Ibid., 87-88.
5. Ibid., 88.
The following are principles to guide the planning for the reconfiguration of the existing Library building and the addition:
A Place for Active Learning
A Place Designed to Put Users First
An Adaptable Place
A Functional Place
A Borderless, Integrated, Efficient Place
A Place Where Noise is Managed
A Safe and Secure Place
The addition is also planned to include a A High-density ARS for the Collection. The program lists a number of benefits of high-density ARS structure.
Here are a few:
1. Because a large majority of high use collections will be in conventional shelving, patrons will find access to information
2. Response time and delivery for items located in the ARS will be in minutes compared to what they would be for off-site
3. Existing and expanded library space can be configured as "flexible space" for students. and the amount of student
seating can be increased.
Another interesting piece of information I got in the Cohen workshop is that traditional shelving costs $20 to $40 per book, compact shelving costs $10
per book, and high density storage costs $1 per book and $5 for the equipment for a total of $6.
A copy of the building program is on reserve so that anyone interested in looking at it will have it easily available. Please remember that it's a CONCEPT
NOT the actual design.
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Last updated 1/29/02.
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