Knowledge Commons Update

As we start off the academic year, the Knowledge Commons team is hard at work piloting services, planning spaces, and getting the word out. Read on for the latest updates on our progress.

Growing Our Team

The Knowledge Commons team recently welcomed our newest Alumni Fellow, Abby Hanus (They/Them/Theirs), who will work with the Center for Teaching and Learning. Abby is working with alongside CTL Co-Directors Laura Wenk and Kristen Luschen and with Beth Lisi, Assistant Director of Foundation and Government Relations, to help support faculty and staff professional development at Hampshire. Abby graduated with a BA in Education and Photography with a focus on community building and sustainability. They are thrilled to see their passions come together with the CTL and the Knowledge Commons. To learn more about the CTL you can check out their blog To contact Abby you can email them at:

The library is also currently recruiting for a Media Fellow and will recruit an Archives Intern. Please encourage talented recent graduates with an interest in media production, peer mentoring, and instruction to apply!

Planning Spaces

Commons Renovation

Library staff members Jennifer King (Director of the Library), Sarah Lippincott (Knowledge Commons Coordinator), and Sasha Conley (Student Success Fellow) are pulling together a team that includes architecture students and ReHamping to collaborate on the design for the space that connects Media Services to the Airport Lounge. The renovated space will be designed to support the programmatic needs of academic services that include the Transformative Speaking Program, Quantitative Resource Center, Writing Center Interns, and consultations around student success, instructional technology, and research instruction. The space will also provide a work environment for the Knowledge Commons Coordinator and Fellows. Extensive interviews and meetings with library staff and departments, Knowledge Commons partners, and building partners including duplications and the bookstore, inform this effort. Facilities Management is overseeing this project, and we hope to have preliminary designs within the next several weeks. The identified available space is highlighted in this floor plan:

Floorplan of Hampshire library showing planned space for new Academci Commons.
The green highlight shows the planned space for the new Academic Commons on the ground floor of the library.

The library is also pursuing modifications to the InfoBar to expand secure storage space for technology and games. The renovations will be undertaken during this academic year, and the renovated Commons space should be available by summer 2017.

Film Collection Relocation

In order to accommodate the planned space renovations, the film collection and post production equipment in Media Services, located on the library’s bridge-level floor, are being relocated to make space for Knowledge Commons academic services. Media Services and the Library are working together to relocate the 16 mm, VHS and DVD collection. The current storage environment is not suitable for long-term storage of audiovisual collections, and especially the 16 mm collection. The temperature ranges from 66 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit (mean 62.2) and the relative humidity ranges from 9% to a high of 84% (mean 49.7).*

DVD and listening station display in the library.
DVDs have been relocated to a display outside the Research Help Office.
  • DVDs. DVDs have been relocated to the library first floor for browsing and circulation. (Rare titles are available by request.)
  • VHS tapes. The fewer than 70 VHS tapes that have circulated between 2012-2016 have been relocated to the library first floor for browsing and circulation. The VHS tapes that have not circulated have been boxed and stored pending a review of the collection to weed titles that duplicate DVD and on-demand versions. We are reviewing the collection to identify original material in VHS format and will transfer to the Northeast Film Archive for preservation and storage.
  • 16mm films. The library collection includes just under 1,000 16mm films. We are working with Five Colleges to find room in the shared Bunker to store the circulating 16 mm collection. Titles stored here will be accessible with 1 day’s notice and we are working on new procedures for the inspection and upkeep in this new, reasonably stable environment. We are also reviewing this collection to identify rare and out-of-print titles, common titles, prints in poor-condition as well as isolating unique, Hampshire-produced material on 16mm. Hampshire-produced titles found in the circulating collection, as well as 50 or so reels of rare footage and preservation elements such as negatives and sound tracks held as part of the Hampshire College Archives will be transferred to the Northeast Film Archive for preservation and storage. The remaining collection will continue to circulate and be a prized asset to Hampshire and Five College Film Studies.

* Temperature and moisture are the two key factors affecting the rate of film deterioration. Fresh acetate film stored at a temperature of 65°F and 50% RH (relative humidity) will last approximately 50 years before the onset of vinegar syndrome. Just reducing the temperature 15°, while keeping the humidity at the same level, delays the first signs by 150 years.2 Low temperature and low relative humidity levels slow chemical decay and increase the stability of motion picture film. (The Film Preservation Guide: The Basics for Archives, Libraries, and Museums, 2004, National Film Preservation Foundation.)

Piloting Services

Ask Us! Desk

The Alumni Fellows piloted a General Concierge (aka Ask Us!) service on Wednesday, September 14. The goal was to get more exposure with students and begin establishing a relationship with the Hampshire community. The Fellows provided directional and referral support and greeted visitors to the building. Their full report on the outcome of the pilot is available to the Hampshire Community. Highlights from the pilot include:

  • They encountered a lot of walk-up traffic, due in part to their prominent location in the lobby. People were more likely to approach when more than one Fellow was present.
  • The Fellows most frequently received questions about who they were and what they were doing and questions about resources that the Fellows had listed on a large “Did You Know” sign. They found that the “Did You Know” sign was a great icebreaker and resulted in a lot of productive interactions.

We are considering replicating the pilot and possibly introducing it as a regular service, either throughout the semester or during particularly busy periods.

Student Consultations

The Alumni Fellows have begun offering one-on-one appointments for students, which will become a core service offered by the various academic programs who will share the renovated Commons space. As the semester progresses, the Fellows will experiment with drop-in hours, appointments, and other strategies for engaging individually with students.


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