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Book part
Publication date: 20 July 2005

Lilia Pavlovsky

It has been suggested that “space and artifacts constitute systems of communication which organizations build up within themselves” (Gagliardi, 1992a, b, p. vi) and…

Abstract

It has been suggested that “space and artifacts constitute systems of communication which organizations build up within themselves” (Gagliardi, 1992a, b, p. vi) and reflect the cultural life within that organization. This is a study of how the “landscape” of a public library (“Library X”), as an information retrieval system, relates to the values of the people who created it. The efforts here are geared towards understanding the physical instantiation of institutional culture and, more specifically, institutional values as they are reflected through the artifact.

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Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-338-9

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Book part
Publication date: 29 March 2014

Matthew R. Griffis

This exploratory study, a Ph.D. dissertation completed at the University of Western Ontario in 2013, examines the materially embedded relations of power between library

Abstract

This exploratory study, a Ph.D. dissertation completed at the University of Western Ontario in 2013, examines the materially embedded relations of power between library users and staff in public libraries and how building design regulates spatial behavior according to organizational objectives. It considers three public library buildings as organization spaces (Dale & Burrell, 2008) and determines the extent to which their spatial organizations reproduce the relations of power between the library and its public that originated with the modern public library building type ca. 1900. Adopting a multicase study design, I conducted site visits to three, purposefully selected public library buildings of similar size but various ages. Site visits included: blueprint analysis; organizational document analysis; in-depth, semi-structured interviews with library users and library staff; cognitive mapping exercises; observations; and photography.

Despite newer approaches to designing public library buildings, the use of newer information technologies, and the emergence of newer paradigms of library service delivery (e.g., the user-centered model), findings strongly suggest that the library as an organization still relies on many of the same socio-spatial models of control as it did one century ago when public library design first became standardized. The three public libraries examined show spatial organizations that were designed primarily with the librarian, library materials, and library operations in mind far more than the library user or the user’s many needs. This not only calls into question the public library’s progressiveness over the last century but also hints at its ability to survive in the new century.

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Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-744-3

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Book part
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Charles B. Osburn

This paper situates the concept of library as place in its broader context of relevant theory and research in a number of fields, primarily psychology, neurology…

Abstract

This paper situates the concept of library as place in its broader context of relevant theory and research in a number of fields, primarily psychology, neurology, geography, philosophy, and architecture. The term “place” is defined, its powers described, and its role in library administration and design thus revealed to be one of very considerable significance at the highest levels of library mission in any setting.

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Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1410-2

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Book part
Publication date: 5 June 2011

Linda R. Most

Research into the library as place investigates the role of public library buildings as destinations, physical places where people go for various reasons ranging from…

Abstract

Research into the library as place investigates the role of public library buildings as destinations, physical places where people go for various reasons ranging from making use of the library's resources and services or seeking to fulfill an information or reading need to less easily identified reasons that may include using the library's building as a place to make social or business contacts, to build or reinforce community or political ties, or to create or reinforce a personal identity. This study asks: How are one rural US public library system's newly constructed buildings functioning as places? The answer is derived from answers to sub-questions about adult library users, user, and staff perceptions of library use, and observed use of library facilities. The findings are contextualized using a framework built of theories from human geography, sociology, and information studies.

This case study replicates a mixed-methods case study conducted at the main public libraries in Toronto and Vancouver in the late1990s and first reproduced in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2006. It tests methods used in large urban settings in a rural, small-town environment. This study also expands on its antecedents by using thematic analysis to determine which conceptualizations of the role of the public library as place are most relevant to the community under investigation.

The study relies on quantitative and qualitative data collected via surveys and interviews of adult library users, interviews of library public service staff members, structured observations of people using the libraries, and analysis of selected administrative documents. The five sets of data are triangulated to answer the research sub-questions.

Thematic analysis grounded in the conceptual framework finds that public realm theory best contextualizes the relationships that develop between library staff members and adult library users over time. The study finds that the libraries serve their communities as informational places and as familiarized locales rather than as third places, and that the libraries facilitate the generation of social capital for their users.

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Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-014-8

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Book part
Publication date: 15 December 2016

Ardis Hanson and John Abresch

Libraries can be seen as the collective identity of its employees engaged in providing a myriad of services to a community of patrons. Libraries can also exist in virtual…

Abstract

Purpose

Libraries can be seen as the collective identity of its employees engaged in providing a myriad of services to a community of patrons. Libraries can also exist in virtual settings, defined with descriptive parameters, described by a wider user group external to the library environment. The diverse nature of what constitutes libraries is illustrated by researchers, such as Marino and Lapintie (2015), who use the term “meta-meeting place” when describing its environs. Whatever model is used to describe contemporary libraries, the library environment usually has numerous needs and demands coming from a variety of stakeholders, from administrators to patrons. This chapter examines how we, as librarians, with users, co-construct library as both space and place.

Methodology/approach

We used a theoretical framework (social constructionism) to show how library identity is established by its users in the space planning process to address their needs and expectations and provided a case study of the main library at the University of South Florida.

Findings

We found that libraries are reflective of the vision and values of a diverse community and the social-political milieu in which they are housed. Librarians used a number of innovative methods and frames to create best/evidence-based practice approaches in space planning, re-envisioning library functions, and conducting outcomes/programmatic assessment. For librarians to create that sense of place and space for our users requires effective and open conversations and examination of our own inherent (and often unacknowledged) contradictions as to what libraries are or should be as enduring structures with evolving uses and changing users. For example, only a few of the studies focused on the spatial use and feel of libraries using new technologies or methodologies, such as social network analysis, discourse analysis, or GPS, to map the use of physical and virtual space.

Practical implications

First, new ways of working and engaging require reexamination of assessment and evaluation procedures and processes. To accomplish this, we must develop a more effective culture of assessment and to use innovative evaluation measures to determine use, user paths, and formal and informal groupings. Changes that affect patron and staff perceptions of library as place/third space may be difficult to assess using quantitative surveys, such as LibQual, that may not provide an opportunity for respondents to provide specifics of what “place” means to them. Second, it is important to have effective communication among all members of the library (patrons, library staff, and university administration) so that we design spaces/places that enhance the relationships among users, technology, pedagogy, and learning spaces, not just the latest “thing” in the literature.

Originality/value

This value of this review is to provide a social constructionist perspective (frame) on how we plan library space. This approach provides opportunities to truly engage our patrons and administration in the co-construction of what “our library” should be since it provides insight to group, place, and social dynamics.

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Book part
Publication date: 5 June 2011

Catherine Closet-Crane

The professional discourse on academic library planning and design is examined. A critical realist philosophical stance and a constructionist perspective constitute the…

Abstract

The professional discourse on academic library planning and design is examined. A critical realist philosophical stance and a constructionist perspective constitute the theoretical framework that, paired with Fairclough's methodology for critical discourse analysis, is used to examine the constitution of interpretative repertoires and of a discourse constructing the academic library as a learning place. The information commons, learning commons, and library designed for learning repertoires are described and the effects of discursive activity are analyzed. Three types of effects are presented: (1) the production by the LIS community of discourse on academic libraries of a sizable body of literature on the information commons and on the learning commons, (2) the construction of new types of libraries on the commons model proposed by Beagle, and (3) the metaphorization of the library as business. The study concludes that the existing discourse takes a facilities management perspective dominated by concerns with technology, equipment, and space requirements that does not address the physical, psychological, and environmental qualities of library space design. Consequently, it is suggested that architectural programming techniques should be used in library planning and design that consider the architectural features and environmental design factors contributing to the making of a place where learning is facilitated.

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Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-014-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2004

Karen Lawson

Traditional “third places” provide physical places for human contact and social experience outside of the home or workplace/school. Institutions as disparate as fitness…

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1827

Abstract

Traditional “third places” provide physical places for human contact and social experience outside of the home or workplace/school. Institutions as disparate as fitness centers, libraries, and beauty salons are examples of third places: locations where people gather and often talk about things that are important to them. Libraries have a long tradition of connectedness and community that has put them in the forefront of traditional third places. As library Web sites are created and evolve, the sense of place provided by physical third places will become increasingly important online. Much about connectedness and community online can be learned from the concept of third places and their importance in real life and in cyberspace. The traditions inherent in libraries as physical third places provide predictions, projections, and inspirations for continued good service in the online presence of libraries.

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New Library World, vol. 105 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2018

Neal Baker, Katherine Furlong, David Consiglio, Gentry Lankewicz Holbert, Craig Milberg, Kevin Reynolds and Joshua Wilson

The purpose of this paper is twofold. It first examines cross-institutional benchmark data about “library as place” from 99 US schools in the Measuring Information Service…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold. It first examines cross-institutional benchmark data about “library as place” from 99 US schools in the Measuring Information Service Outcomes (MISO) Survey (www.misosurvey.org). The data demonstrate the value of “library as place” to students in particular. Second, the paper shares case studies of how two college libraries made MISO Survey “library as place” data actionable. Lafayette College (Easton, Pennsylvania) analyzed local MISO Survey data after a renovation to validate return on investment. Earlham College (Richmond, Indiana) analyzed MISO Survey data to help secure a science library renovation and to justify an architectural study for its main library.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper begins with an analysis of “library as place” using aggregate benchmarks derived from US college and university respondents between 2012 and 2015. Specifically, the paper contrasts student and faculty perceptions of “library as place” via national benchmarks about: library services importance, satisfaction, and use (three benchmarks); hybrid online/“place-based” library services importance, satisfaction, and use (three benchmarks). Pivoting from higher education to individual, local perspectives, two case studies reveal how academic libraries used MISO Survey findings to demonstrate the value of “library as place” for renovation purposes.

Findings

The findings include that undergraduates make more frequent use than faculty of place-based services such as reference, equipment loans, and physical course reserves. Undergraduates also find most of these services more important than faculty do. Faculty makes generally more frequent use than undergraduates of online services such as library databases and the catalog. They find that these services to be more important than undergraduates do. Faculty and undergraduates use newer library discovery systems with equal frequency and find them to be equally important. Undergraduates find comfortable library spaces to be very important, and faculty considers them to be only a bit less important.

Originality/value

This is the first paper using MISO Survey data to focus on the importance and satisfaction of place-based library services involving cross-institutional comparisons for students and faculty. Previously published research using MISO Survey data have compared the use of place-based library services. This is also the first paper to offer case studies about how institutions use MISO Survey data to demonstrate the value of “library as place.”

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Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2007

Jeffrey Pomerantz and Gary Marchionini

The purpose of this paper is to present a high‐level investigation of the physical‐conceptual continuum occupied by both digital and physical libraries.

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10024

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a high‐level investigation of the physical‐conceptual continuum occupied by both digital and physical libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

A framework is provided for thinking about the notions of place and library. The issue of materials and the ideas they represent is considered. Places for people are considered, including issues of people's sense of place in physical and digital spaces. The issue of physical and digital spaces as places for work, collaboration, and community‐building is considered.

Findings

As more digital libraries are built, and as more physical libraries offer electronic access to parts of their collection, two trends are likely to result: the role of the library as a storage space for materials will become decreasingly important; and the role of the library as a space for users, for individual and collaborative work, and as a space for social activity, will become increasingly important.

Research limitations/implications

Digital libraries are unable to fulfill some of the functions of the physical library as physical spaces, but are able to offer functions beyond what the physical library can offer as cognitive spaces.

Practical implications

Areas of likely future development for digital libraries are suggested, as vehicles for enhancing cognitive space by augmenting representations of ideas in materials.

Originality/value

This paper argues that in many ways digital libraries really are places in the conceptual sense, and will continue to broaden and enrich the roles that libraries play in people's lives and in the larger social milieu.

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2007

Lisa Waxman, Stephanie Clemons, Jim Banning and David McKelfresh

To provide insight and practical perspectives into the needs of university students regarding places to gather, develop community, and find restoration on the college…

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4962

Abstract

Purpose

To provide insight and practical perspectives into the needs of university students regarding places to gather, develop community, and find restoration on the college campus. This information can be used by libraries as they seek to encourage library use by students.

Design/methodology/approach

About 44 students were sent into the field to document the location and physical characteristics of the “third place.” The questionnaire and field notes recorded by the students addressed the central questions of what spaces constituted their third places, the location of those spaces, the activities in which they participated while there, the factors that contributed to their selection of those places, and the important design features of those third places. In addition, the research team observed students in library settings and interviewed library administrators.

Findings

About 80 percent of students indicated that their favorite third place was off campus. These places were overwhelmingly coffee shops and restaurants. The major functions served by their third places included socialization and relaxation.

Practical implications

These findings provide insight into the way students now study, research, and communicate. Libraries can use this information as they design spaces that encourage students to come to the library to study, as well as socialize, converse, find restoration, and simply “hang out.”

Originality/value

The paper brings together practical information from an interdisciplinary team that can aid libraries interested in renovating spaces to accommodate students of the twenty‐first century.

Details

New Library World, vol. 108 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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