Library space assessment methods: perspectives of new information professionals

Sheila Corrall
2018 Information and Learning Science  
Purpose -The research explores the emerging specialty of learning space assessment with a focus on how new information professionals represented by graduate students in an academic libraries course defined quality criteria for library spaces and how they approached designing and conducting a one-shot multi-site space assessment project. Design/methodology/approach -The instructor-investigator adopted a diachronic collective case study strategy, using documents generated by six cohorts over
more » ... academic years. The data included 180 online discussion posts, 97 individual site assessments, and 32 group project reports. Data were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively to identify patterns and trends in student behaviour. Findings -The analysis revealed a strong trend among students for creating their own evaluation frameworks in preference to reusing existing professional tools in their current form; the proportion of students who either developed their own criteria or combined existing criteria in new ways shifted from 40 percent to 80 percent in three years. Their approaches demonstrated willingness and ability to engage in independent and creative thinking, and readiness to explore interdisciplinary and international perspectives on space. They also displayed a commitment to accessible, flexible and adaptable user-centered design for active, collaborative learning, and to bringing a user perspective to their observations. Originality/value -The focus on student-librarians provides a unique forward-looking perspective on the desirable qualities of next-generation learning spaces in academic libraries. The study also documents an unprecedented range of established and novel space evaluation frameworks and tools informed by different professional disciplines. The results should be of interest to LIS educators and practitioners.
doi:10.1108/ils-10-2017-0097 fatcat:ygzngxk4pzaq7oxk5sdn6pkbnm