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This February we will pack up the car and leave our small NH town for an 6-day campus tour roadshow. 8 campus tours booked. 8 info sessions arranged.   

Our future class of 2019 daughter will be listening closely to the campus tour guide, checking out the classrooms, sampling the food, and investigating the student center and athletic facilities.

Her father will want to head to library.

I’ll be interested to observe how big a billing the library gets on the campus tour.

I’m of the belief that the academic library is the heart of the academic enterprise.

The questions that I’ll be asking as a prospective parent about the academic library include:

  • What is the vibe of the space? Light-filled? Positive? Whimsical? Curious? Serious? Collaborative? Open?  
  • What is the density of human interaction in the library? Does the space feel like where the campus comes to study, research, and learn?
  • Are there lots of space for groups of students to study together?   
  • Are there quiet places where students can read, write, research, and think in solitude?
  • How visible are librarians at the library? Does it seem easy to get help with research projects? How many conversations between students and librarians are in evidence?
  • Does the physical layout of the library match the academic culture of the institution?  
  • Is the library designed in a way that seems planned out and integrated, or does the physical layout and architecture feel more stuck together without an overarching philosophy or purpose?
  • What sorts of creative and collaborative study and learning spaces have been created in the library?  Is there evidence that the institution has incorporated the library into its model of teaching and learning?
  • Are faculty and staff, in addition to students and librarians, present in the library?   Does the place of the library feel like a community learning space?
  • Can you get a good cup of coffee, and maybe a snack, while studying at the library?
  • Does the library feel like the hub of the intellectual campus community?  
  • How does the library deal with the challenge of providing a space for collaboration and study, a social learning space, with its history as a place where we went to find information contained in books?   How is the tension between people space and paper space mediated?  
  • What does the design of the library signal about the transition from information scarcity to information abundance?  How does the architecture and the layout of the library traverse the information landscape?
  • Is the library an enhanced and magical place?   

What will you looking for at the library on your campus tour?

What will my daughter be looking for when she tours the campus library?

How can I explain how important the library will become in her higher ed journey?

How can I best pass on my love for the academic library?

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