SPEC Kit 342: Next-Gen Learning Spaces · 83
More provisioning of specialized software for multimedia development, advanced statistical software, 3D printing,
visualization labs, soundproof recording studios.
Next-gen learning spaces are different than traditional learning spaces but their role is not different. Their purpose is to
contribute to the education of the students who are studying at our institution.
Next-gen learning spaces move libraries forward by helping position them as hubs of research, learning, and teaching
on campus. Through these spaces and the activities they support, libraries emphasize and embrace that they are, and
always have been, more than houses of books and other physical materials. These spaces provide opportunities for
users, librarians, campus partners, and others to engage with each other, with printed and electronic materials, and
with technologies. They support and encourage the sharing of ideas, research, and expertise, and they further the
academic mission of the library and its parent institution.
Next-gen learning spaces not only support the acquisition of knowledge, but also provide the tools and environment
for students to work individually and collaboratively to contribute to the creation of new knowledge and products. This
aligns with the educational experience the university seeks to cultivate, wherein undergraduate students are given
the opportunity to participate in faculty research projects and to view themselves are contributors to the generation
of knowledge. Our libraries need to continue to evolve to provide the information, environment, tools, and support
students need to fulfill this educational mandate.
“Next-gen” learning spaces will be superseded by new trends and technologies and are an example of how research
libraries must continuously balance trends with traditional services.
Next-gen learning spaces will be technology-rich, will nurture students in interdisciplinary exploration and information
discovery, will allow for flexible use of space and furniture, will enable collaboration (including collaboration beyond our
own institution), will be inviting and accessible.
Next-gen learning spaces will become pervasive as their effectiveness in supporting student engagement and retention
is documented.
Places for collaboration with other campus entities
Places where students go to be with peers, not necessarily go for help/assistance.
Serve as flexible spaces to adapt as technologies, study habits, and teaching methods change.
Such spaces will increase in size and number, will better facilitate collaboration, flexibility, and repurposing, and enable
users to adapt the spaces to best suit their needs at a given time and to take more responsibility for their own learning.
The Libraries are in a strategic planning process and are articulating a philosophical framework for developing future
learning spaces in the Libraries. 1. Identifying *key drivers* that shape our users’ space needs and preferences and
employing them in space planning. 2. Envisioning spaces on a continuum of physical-to-virtual, and incorporating
robust resources that support learning, researching, and collaborating across the continuum. 3. Envisioning space
designs from a pedagogical perspective—developing and applying a strong understanding of current and emerging
pedagogical approaches and their corresponding space needs. 4. Identifying any disciplinary differences in space needs
that might inform space designs for different spaces and locations throughout the library system. 5. Designing spaces
for interdisciplinary research and collaboration (e.g., spaces supporting interdisciplinary research clusters). 6. Envisioning
and developing new/innovative value added services and amenities integral to various space commons. 7. Engaging an
increasingly wider academic community, and utilizing various overlays of data in envisioning and planning of spaces.
The new library will continue to provide academic support to students by increasing the quantity and improving the
quality of its spaces, equipped with better technology and collaborative spaces.
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