Library Brown Bag Session 1: Wed. Jan 11 Input Received


The Physical Library (MIT Recommendation 2): Redesign the library’s physical spaces to support the way scholars learn and collaborate today.

Seven guests attended this session, including one student; two faculty members; one CASA staff member; two campus architects; one design architect



  • Big tables with room to spread out. “I have favorite spots in the library and they’re all big tables.”
  • Room between tables
    • More space, generally; space is a campuswide concern as well as in the library. “Students have other spaces they go to, but the library is their home, used in a productive way, and you can’t say that about every other building. They think of CASA and they think of the library”
    • “I know lots of students who come to the library by themselves to get a lot done and they don’t like the table next to them having a bunch of people talking and being pretty loud”.
    • “Needs to be bigger. I sometimes walk around the library and can’t find a spot that’s open, so having it be bigger would be beneficial.
    • “Plus it would be able to host more spaces for future growth in the school”
  • Late hours; earlier weekend hours before 11:00am
  • Quiet space
  • More computers
  • More collaborative computers (dual screens) in computer labs – they work together
  • Computers in group study rooms
  • Modular furniture in some “Whether or not students want to push tables around all the time, not sure”
  • 2-3 chair group study rooms are useful
  • Group study rooms should be reservable
  • If flat screens in group study rooms, must be easy to use. There are some elsewhere on campus and students use them.
  • Comfortable chairs; beanbags
  • Would like a social/fun zone for games. A study break space. “I think students would definitely use that.”
  • Plugs!
  • Whiteboards or glass boards with plugs nearby
  • “Having whiteboards is a big thing, very useful, even glass”
  • Better layout of library – currently closed off, confusing
  • Multiple entrances. Have to walk all the way around the building to enter it right now.
  • No small desks
  • “More spread out – I know I keep saying that”
  • Makerspaces are less of a priority – Brown is getting a big one, several across campus. Some are locked up, so you have to be certified to get access.
  • Little need for books (in sophomore year) or research help; mostly uses online library resources
  • Not sure about need for presentation practice space; interview space
  • Likes new food policy; should offer/sell food in library



  • Faculty lounge for interdisciplinary conversation; a social/tea hour space
    • Broader-ranging concept of what type of space could be helpful for the faculty. Informal space for discussion.
    • Cross-campus conversations right now about need for this need for an informal faculty meeting space, a communal space. And they think of the library as a community space. Makes sense to be thinking about this when thinking about space design.
    • Not just specific to faculty. Faculty have students, and faculty and students could also use it to get together.
    • Have also been discussing that other institutions around world have this type of space with traditions. In England, often have tea hour. And it would be every day. Go there for tea, but then during that time, faculty would talk about physics. And with students. A space where ideas could come up, and these types of conversations don’t happen so easy without the space and the time.
    • We’re lucky that this school is still small enough for this to work.
    • Berkeley model for cross-disciplinary exchange
  • Student satisfaction – faculty want happy students
  • More resources, for both student and faculty satisfaction
  • 90% of faculty conversation is about need for stuff, for resources, for journals
  • Textbook library – ask faculty to donate to it

CASA staff:


  • Partnership with the library would be great
  • Making up exams. Currently only have 16 seats, and gave 333 exams
  • Tutoring services and space
  • Supportive learning environmentunnamed


I'm Lisa Dunn, the Research & User Interface Librarian. I've been working on library space planning teams here for over a decade.

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