Learning Commons Ad Hoc Steering Committee
Agenda & Minutes
Hill Urbina

Present: Asha Kinney, Bob Crowley, Jennifer King (chair), Thom Long, Laura Wenk, Alana Kumbier, Oliver Martinez, Marjorie Hutter, Jeff Wallen, Cole Cateneo-Ryan, Carl Weber, Zena Clift, Daniel Shrada, Byron McCrae, Tatjana Mackin (notes)

Absent:  Kara Lynch, Ira Fay, Kristen Luschen; Steve Roof

  1. Introductions
  2. Overview/background
  • Creating a learning commons in the library gives us the chance to redesign ourselves in aa progressive and responsive way, in support of the Hampshire’s interdisciplinary and experimenting curriculum. Being progressive and responsive is not new for our library. The library was progressively envisioned in 1968 to include the campus gallery, IT, Media Services (running both INTRAN and the campus radio station) alongside more traditional monograph collection, journals, and resources.
  • This desire is not new. There have been efforts in last many years to update the library. In  1999, Hampshire hosted the symposium, “Remaking of the Library: Imagining the College Library for the Next Half Century,” In 2010 Rehamping formed, and initiated, designed, and completed the Div III showcase http://rehamping.tumblr.com/showcase. The showcase was but one of the library spaces that Rehamping put forth for change.
  • Why do we get to renovate now? A combination of factors have allowed for this project:
    • New administration – President, Dean of Faculty, Dean of Assessment and a renewed focus on retention and recruitment.2012-2013 Student Life and Academic Satisfaction Surveys
      • Library is the 2nd most important campus facility in student decision process
      • The link between use of the library and student educational outcomes is well-documented
    • Data from the Fall 12 Student Life Survey was merged with data from the Spring 13 Academic Satisfaction Survey, strong correlations were demonstrated between feelings of community, loneliness, and academic satisfaction.
    • Portal building has provided a new opportunity.  Moving the bookstore to the Portal Building makes sense for the admissions function of the portal, and creates a major opportunity in the library by opening up a significant amount of space on the ground floor of the library. We can explore reprogramming in support of the academic program.
    • Our vision is to create a library learning commons that could merge academic support services (that could include writing and speaking support, qualitative and quantitative research support, academic tutoring, the PARC mentor programs) alongside library services like library and media research collections and skill development, archives, multimedia editing labs and instruction, the circulating art collection and the Gallery.
    • Library’s strategic planning in 2012 was a valuable step in developing appreciation for the uniqueness of the library and Hampshire and how the library plans to evolve.

Role of Ad Hoc Steering Committee

    • Committee’s role is to develop a vision for the learning commons based on campus needs.
    • Committee will likely need to break into smaller subgroups to focus on:
      • Technology
      • Media
      • Faculty needs
      • Student needs
      • Academic Program Partners

Logistical Questions:

  • Committee will use a Moodle site for its internal materials and create a blog for communicating out to Hampshire community. The library blog will be used for external information sharing, along with Hampshire’s communications office.


  • Proposal due 12/31. Learning Commons could be finished as soon as Sept. 2015. JGK will follow up to learn more about pressures that are driving the December proposal deadline.



  • JGK spoke of working with  DEGW, consultants who conducted a library master plan at Mount Holyoke College. Eliot Felix has since left DEGW and established Brightspot Strategy, a space design and planning firm that recently consulted on the Hunt Library project at NC State. (NC State was the host of the 2nd CNI Designing Libraries for the 21st Century conference that Jennifer attended 2 weeks ago.)  That project generated a grant-funded Learning Space Toolkit based on Eliot’s methodologies.
  • Brightspot, interested in working with Hampshire, will visit campus on Monday 11/4 to tour the spaces and meet with the steering committee.
  • If we were to hire Brightspot, they would return in December to do a “rapid engagement” helping the committee meet its 12/31 deadline in a focused, targeted way.
  • Bob: Need to develop our list of users, needs and to prioritize the most important two since we are so short of time. What are the existing pain points right now and gaps?
  • Marjorie-proposal to Mellon Foundation is the basis for other changes. Can think of discretionary funding if needed for the intense planning needed for a Learning Commons.
  • Jeff: if we work with Brightspot, when? First week of Dec. Keeling & Associates are at Hampshire. We could also look at a January 31 deadline.
  • Jeff and Marjorie: Mellon provides programmatic support, not capital, with a focus on humanities and science.
  • Thom: develop an overarching philosophy for the space and the project.
  • JGK: The new area to explore is a growing understanding that the library can include academic support. Cited recent programs like the PARC mentoring students, and Writing Center Fellows offering evening writing support in the library. The committee will explore how to manifest these supports in the library center.

Future committee meeting dates:

  • November 4 2-3:30 FPH 107,  Brightspot’s Elliot Felix and Ashley Thorfinnson will be visiting from NY to meet committee and tour library. Tour of library from 1:00-1:50 pm for those on the committee who would like to join. Meet in front of magic board
  • November 8, 2-3:30 FPH 107
  • November 22, 2-3:30 FPH 107


CNI Designing Libraries for the 21st Century

Articles/ Blogs:

Designing Spaces for Effective Learning: A Guide to 21st century learning space design (2006) http://www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/JISClearningspaces.pdf

Shaw, Claire “University libraries are shaping the future of learning and research”, The Guardian: Higher Education Network Blog, August 6, 2013

http://libraryarchitecture.wikispaces.com/Learning+Commons+in+Academic+Libraries (several links are out of date)


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