3 Best Practices for Cutting-Edge Academic Libraries

March 12, 2015 / by Mango (PS)

While plenty of people who aren’t in the loop tend to view librarians as old-fashioned, we at Mango know better. In our experience, librarians and those who work in libraries are some of the most hip, current people we know, and they reflect that personality in their place of work. Look no further than the Librarians of the Ocean State for proof!

Academic libraries today are changing. They’re no longer just a place to borrow books: they act as campus epicenters, resource hubs, and the best places to try out the newest technologies. But the changing library landscape means that librarians need to work hard to keep their workplaces up-to-date and relevant for students and faculty. Today we’re sharing some of the best practices our librarian friends have clued us into, so we can help you make sure your library is on the cutting-edge.

Forget quiet.

We know: it’s been seen as almost blasphemy to talk in a library! However, libraries need to be resource centers for learning, so librarians need to think about how to engage students beyond silent study. Across campus, students aren’t just researching and writing papers: they’re creating, performing, and presenting in new and exciting ways, and libraries are embracing these changes. While areas for quiet reading are still great to have, the most innovative libraries are fostering innovative study and collaboration spaces. These include conference rooms, video editing rooms, coworking spaces and coffee shop-style cafes people can use or reserve for group research, presentations, or other learning activities that involve a noise level higher than silence.

Invest in technology.

Whether you view the influx of iPads, iPhones, Androids, 3-D printing, and library robots as a “positive sign of the progress of mankind” or the “end of the world as we know it,” these technologies are the future. For students, many of these tools aren’t just cool new toys: they’re integral to everyday life, making them essential investments for the modern-day library. Adding iPads to the computer desk, investing in a 3-D printer for your makerspace, or providing library resources to students and faculty online will drive engagement and add even more value to your library’s offerings.

Keep community needs in focus.

Remember: the library occupies a special space in the campus community. Where else can every student, regardless of major or minor, come together and enjoy themselves through literature, learning and cutting-edge technology? Keep your finger on the pulse of the campus community and what students and faculty need. If there’s a large and engaged alumni population, use the library to host events and reunions. If your college’s film students are always filming in the area, invest in movie editing software and plan a screening of Citizen Kane. And as your campus becomes more global, consider investing in language-learning software for foreign students and faculty to practice their English skills and the rest of the community to learn about language and culture for study, travel or fun.

Ready to get your library on the cutting-edge? Check out this innovative checklist!

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Topics: Higher Ed

Mango (PS)

Written by Mango (PS)

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