Library Learning Commons Ad Hoc Steering Committee/Advisors
11/4/2013, FPH 107

Present: Elliot Felix (Brightspot Strategy), Ashley Thorfinnson (Brightspot Strategy), Jennifer King (chair, minutes), Marjorie Hutter, Laura Wenk, Kristen Luschen, Cole Cataneo-Ryan, Alana Kumbier, Bob Crowley, Daniel Schrada, Asha Kinney, Thom Long, Jeff Wallen, Steve Roof, Oliver Martinez, Carl Weber

Meeting Agenda:

  1. Welcome Brightspot Strategy
  2. Overview of Brightspots’ Approach
  3. Next Steps

1. Brightspot Strategy’s Approach:

  • Very collaborative
  • Involves students, faculty, workshops, one half-day workshop, redesigning spaces by putting them on the table,
  • Hampshire so far has an inclusive process for this project
  • Sometimes they offer a quick study that ends up with various options
  • Sometimes you come to one option
  • Dial up or down the amount of research and engagement depending on time available & where the project falls relative to the semester

About Brightspot:

  • Integrated strategy firm, improving people’s experience (space, service, organizational development)
  • Process is not linear, 4 phases:
  • Understanding (where are we?)
  • Visioning (what’s the destination?)
  • Planning & Prototyping (how do we get there?)
  • Implementation (what do we do along the way?)
  • 6 ideas to focus on
  • Connect left brain right brain thinking (visualization, synthetic, hands-on, storying)
  • Hands on and co-created
  • Integrated
  • Future-focused
  • Consensus-building
  • Organized for action


  • Observations
  • Visioning cards
  • Personas
  • User journey maps
  • Interactive floorplay
  • Prototyping

How we might work together

  • Pre-engagement:
  • Review background information
  • Series of interactive workshops, 1st to understand what a library learning commons might be? Interactive floorplay session,
  • Pulling it together into a draft program or presentation


  • 3 days on-campus engagement working together
  • Pre and post work remotely

Trends, Writ-Large:

  • Mobile and Collaborative Learning: learning less tied to place, more active, more collaborative, changing access to information and each other,
  • Digital and Physical Making – no longer simply places to access information, libraries are increasingly where work is created; interactive, media-rich, both digitally and physically
  • Rebalancing user space/collections
    • one hand, effective access
    • other hand, efficient storage
  • Space versatility and variety
  • Libraries are creating spaces to showcase special collections, or art through dedicated display and gallery space
  • Rather than focus on on the furniture and technology within a learning space, organizations are integrating service points
  • Hubs for partners
    • great locations to bring together a suite of academic services in a hub such as writing centers, tutoring, centers for teaching excellence
    • UPenn Weigle Commons – various supports move through the Weigle Commons

Discussion and ideas for Hampshire:

  • Expanding some resources and bringing together resources that now feel remedial like tutoring or writing support
  • Look at broader campus, who will be affected by a new integrated service design?
  • Great opportunity to look at expanding a Makerspace in the library
  • Gallery
    • Our gallery space is an active participant in the curriculum
    • Gallery needs to be a studio
    • Gallery space for participatory activities
  • Space is so urgently needed at Hampshire
  • Versatility, spaces that can be reconfigured
  • Not enough quiet study space
  • Elliot: talked about dissertation space in the library at NYC; analogous to having DIV III space
    • 50 PhDs share 30 or something desks
  • How many seats do we currently have in the library? Circa. 250. That only hits ca. 25% of Hampshire student body. Aim for 40, 50 or 60% of seating for the population, rather than 25%.
  • Comparison study of seats available for students at 5-College Libraries?
  • Come up with a logic for what services are where
  • Student and faculty experience – if something moves here, what is the impact?
  • Quantity/quality of a variety of study spaces


A few examples of Brightspot Strategy projects:

Hunt Library at NC State

  • Vision: Technology IncubatorBrightspot worked with library on service model – integrated service unit
    • Collaborative environments
    • Incubate new technologies
    • Store and access 2 million volumes as efficiently as possible

Temple University (also using Snohetta architects, like NC State)

  • Integrating dif. partners (center for teaching and learning, MOOC, writing center) to better support student experience
  • Balance efficient storage and efficient access; social and intellectual campus center
  • New library is intellectual cultural social center of campus


  • Worked with Google to refresh their global design guidelines from a static document into a learning and development program and website for design teams and PMs.
  • We are also updating information about what makes a successful Google workplace and leading a diverse and distributed team of Google staff and specialty consultants to update the guidelines, design tools, and phase roll-out.

Mount Holyoke College Library

  • Gain greater visibility and legibility of services
  • Merge 8 service points to 3 integrated points of service

American University

  • Master plan for renovation of Bender Library
  • Series of engaging workshops, inputs of staff and faculty
  • Increase user space
  • Co Locate library services and integrate partners to create a Research Commons
  • IT Help Desk traffic went up 600%

Liberty University

  • New library, overall service strategy, integrated service model through user research personas, journey maps, service blueprints, and a pilot service point.
  • WIFI Customer Service

University of South Carolina

  • Library vision study
  • Restacked 300,000 sq foot building within 3 hours – programmatic vision study fro the Thomas Cooper Library’s incremental transformation which established the overall vision, identified how to reorganize the building, develop key space and service concepts.

What does Brightspot use for data to contextualize and evaluate these integrated service points?

  • Massive body of uncoordinated research
  • ARL annual assessment conference published proceedings on space and services use
  • Brightspot gave a paper there last year.

Every institution is so different. Different culture. Different curriculum. Different leadership. Findings don’t always translate, but methodology might.

  • Iterative approach
  • Hampshire is an Agile-project management shop
  • Brightstpot likes design-thinking, pushing edge, grabbing outliers, experimenting
  • Short time-frames work best with iterative steps

Potential pitfalls:

  • Best thing to do is constrain the problem, creativity unlocked by having constraints to push against.
  • 90% of time on the ground-floor as an example. The more precisely you frame the scope, what is fixed and what is moveable, the better.
  • Another pitfall is asymmetry of information. Not everyone has the same information. Common set, common briefing, common set of information kept in the right place, involving everyone at the same time, and thinking about the important stakeholders in the project, who you want in the room and how you communicate to groups & stakeholders outside the process
  • Be future thinking – hard to imagine staying focused on the first-floor. Larger vision, with pieces that we do now.
  • Where you lose time and effectiveness is getting a bunch of people talking about a table, and a bunch of people talking about a room. Talking about a room or a table?

Next Steps:

  • Brightspot will develop a proposal for Hampshire and the Library Learning Commons Ad Hoc Steering Committee to consider
  • Brightspot has invited Hampshire, as possible clients, to a workshop “Service Design Bootcamp: Partnerships in Higher Education”, a hands-on workshop to share, understand, and practice using the tools for designing and implementing collaborative service offerings. New York. Friday 11/15. 10 am -4:30 PM

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