Saturday, April 25, 2009

WAAL Keynote - Brian Matthews

On Wednesday morning, Brian Matthews, who is the User Experience Librarian at Georgia Tech and soon to be of UC Santa Barbara, spoke to the group about his experience on bringing innovative services to the Georgia Tech libraries. I liked the idea that their mission was to design the "premier group study area on campus". It reminded me of the Pike Fish Market deciding to be a world famous fish market and how they decided to accomplish that goal. Here were the ideas that had resonance for me.
  • Furniture on wheels so students could control their space; including movable walls and whiteboards. This seems to be a current design theme that we will need to remember as we buy any new furniture.
  • They designed group work tables not just study rooms. This taps into the need to see and be seen while still getting work done. Bryan Vogh is already working on how we can create these types of work areas on the first floor of McIntyre Library. I think that we can use our flip-chart and map of the first floor to let students decide where we site the group workstations.
  • They used Wimba software to deliver social web events to students on a current topic, ideas or issues instead of holding drop-in instruction sessions. It seemed like an innovative way to deliver information literacy in a non-class based manner.
  • At Georgia Tech they promote class projects that use the library as a case study much like we are currently doing with Dr. Sutton's marketing class.
  • Matthews mentioned how he discovered how immersing himself in the activities of the library led to new insights. While his office was being renovated for three months he moved his workspace out into the library with the students. I'm thinking this might be a great way for me to get out onto the floors for a couple of hours per week instead of being cooped up in my office.

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