A Commons By Any Other Name …

Earlier this week on the ACRLog, StevenB posted a question about the difference between the Information Commons and the Learning Commons. He says he used to understand the difference, which he describes below. But now he is not so sure. My understanding of the difference is exactly as he describes below, so I’m not sure what the confusion is all about? Maybe, he is really questioning the perceived value of the Learning Commons?

Steven, do you think their is no value in the added academic support services that a Learning Commons implies?

Others who have implemented a true Learning Commons in your library, do you find students take advantage of the added services? Is there more serendipity? Do students come in for tutoring and stay to work on a computer? Or do students working on a project stumble on to the writing center? These are the sorts of consequences I would expect as a result of co-locating services near each other.

If this is not the outcome, I’d like to know because we are currently planning for our new library complete with both Information Commons and Learning Commons. Or maybe it’s an Information Commons and Learning Center? Of course it’s all the Library!

Seekin’ An Answer ‘Bout The Commons
“The learning commons on the other hand had grander visions. The big difference is in “co-located services”. The learning happens at the learning commons because multiple academic support services are located there; tutoring, the writing center, educational technology and others are invited to share space in the learning commons or they have scheduled hours there.”

Serendipity and RSS

In this post on ACRLog, StevenB, discusses how new technology is resulting in loss of serendipity for our patrons. He goes on to suggest some ways in which serendipity might be built into library catalog searching. In my opinion, some of his suggestions are similar to features already being used by Amazon.com. Its links to titles also purchased by people who have purchased the book I’m buying has led me in lots of interesting directions in the past.

In addition to that, I want to chime in and say that it’s been my experience that my blog aggregator is a great serendipity facilitator. Almost every day, as I click on someone’s blog, I’m led to another blog of interest. In fact, for me, that’s one of the main attractions of blogging. It’s a habit forming serendipitous experience! Thanks for the thoughts Steven.

Serendipity And The Digital Library
As our academic libraries grow increasingly digital we will be removing opportunities for old-style serendipity. Now is a good time to start thinking about ways in which we can inject the value of serendipitous discovery into our research resources.