SPEC Kit 342: Next-Gen Learning Spaces (September 2014)
Committed to assisting research and academic libraries in the continuous improvement of management systems, ARL has worked since 1970 to gather and disseminate the best practices for library needs. As part of its commitment, ARL maintains an active publications program best known for its SPEC Kits. Through the Collaborative Research/Writing Program, librarians work with ARL staff to design SPEC surveys and write publications. Originally established as an information source for ARL member
... es, the SPEC Kit series has grown to serve the needs of the library community worldwide. What are SPEC Kits? Published six times per year, SPEC Kits contain the most valuable, up-to-date information on the latest issues of concern to libraries and librarians today. They are the result of a systematic survey of ARL member libraries on a particular topic related to current practice in the field. Each SPEC Kit contains an executive summary of the survey results; survey questions with tallies and selected comments; the best representative documents from survey participants, such as policies, procedures, handbooks, guidelines, Web sites, records, brochures, and statements; and a selected reading list-both print and online sources-containing the most current literature available on the topic for further study. Subscribe to SPEC Kits Subscribers tell us that the information contained in SPEC Kits is valuable to a variety of users, both inside and outside the library. SPEC Kit purchasers use the documentation found in SPEC Kits as a point of departure for research and problem solving because they lend immediate authority to proposals and set standards for designing programs or writing procedure statements. SPEC Kits also function as an important reference tool for library administrators, staff, students, and professionals in allied disciplines who may not have access to this kind of information. SPEC Kits are available in print and online. The executive summary for each kit after December 1993 can be accessed online free of charge. For more information visit: http://www.arl.org/publications-resources. These results are based on data submitted by 72 of the 125 ARL member libraries (58%) by the deadline of May 14, 2014. The survey's introductory text and questions are reproduced below, followed by the response data and selected comments from the respondents. Many research libraries were radically transformed in the early 2000s with the introduction of information commons. In 2004, Leslie Haas and Jan Robertson from the University of Utah authored SPEC Kit 281, The Information Commons, which provided an overview of the state of commons in ARL member libraries. Since that time, these commons have continued developing as the growth of electronic resources has reduced the space necessary for physical collections. Libraries are using that newly available space for much more than computer labs and study areas. In the last decade, what we are calling Next-Gen Learning Spaces have emerged that bring together services, programming, instruction, campus and community collaboration, and specialized resources of all kinds to support a wide range of teaching, learning, and research. Next-Gen learning spaces are distinguished from information commons or other library innovations by their purpose and by the activities libraries encourage within them. Next-Gen learning spaces are service-rich environments created in collaboration with campus partners that support active learning and multidisciplinary instruction along with providing a platform for scholarly communication and cultural enrichment. These spaces can be created all at once in one renovation or construction project, or they can develop piece-by-piece, e.g., when a library adds new services to a computer lab or classroom that in turn create an opportunity to collaborate with an external partner. The purpose of this survey is to explore the configuration and uses of library learning spaces, the developments and transformations that have occurred over the past ten years, and future plans for learning spaces to determine where these learning spaces are on a continuum between first-gen information commons and next-gen spaces. The compiled responses from ARL members can be used as a benchmark for individual libraries making decisions regarding existing and future learning spaces, as well as to form a more complete picture of the direction in which learning spaces are headed as we move further into the 21st century. This survey explores five main areas related to learning spaces. The first sections of the survey seek to identify what kinds of learning spaces currently exist, how these spaces have changed since their inception, and the effects these spaces have had on other library operations. The next three sections explore the instruction, programming, and collaboration that take place in the learning spaces. Finally, the last section is focused on the current assessment of ARL members' learning spaces and changes that have been made or are planned based on the results of these evaluations.