Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Virtual reality and smoothie bars: What’s in at Bay Area university libraries?

Academic Libraries | Library Design | User Experience

College students still need help finding and interpreting information.

Rodrigo Gris, a summer session student from Spain studying art history, works in one of the new study carrels in Moffitt Library at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif. on Thursday, July 6, 2017. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)
Librarians at UC Berkeley are holding workshops for students on what to do with the information they collect using drones. At Stanford, they’re experimenting with virtual reality. And across the Bay Area, as more textbooks gather dust and coursework moves online, universities are reimagining their libraries.

“We’re like fish,” said Sonoma State University librarian Karen Schneider. “If we don’t keep swimming, we die.” 

University libraries used to warehouse knowledge, but they’re places where it’s created now. And that, students and school officials say, makes them more relevant than ever.

Numbers back up that notion. While book circulation is down at each of the libraries the Bay Area News Group surveyed, the number of students using library space is up.

Librarians say students are looking for places where they can take the work they do individually online and use it to collaborate as part of a team in the real world.

“The digital age has actually raised the importance of spaces for people to actually come together,” said Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, Cal’s librarian and chief digital scholarship officer. Read more...

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