Design of libraries buildings – Part 1

Below are presented, by way of reflection, eight lines of action to consider in the design of buildings of libraries or information centers: Information professionals should take a leadership role in the design of library buildings Before entering fully into the considerations on library buildings, in the face of the challenges presented by the Information Society and Knowledge , It is worth noting that in the process of building or remodeling libraries a clear and effective communication must be established between librarians and architects. Both professionals should establish their respective visions of the project and ensure that the design effectively responds to the needs of the people and the services to be offered. In addition, in determining whether to remodel or build a building, it is imperative that the librarian or information professional actively participate and exercise leadership. Institutions abound where the planning of the building is developed between the institutional management and the architects and engineers, marginalizing the librarian personnel of this process. For architects, the design of the library is a creative process. They usually have an artistic interpretation of space and their own vision of what a library should be. The vision of the architect is not always consonant with the vision of the librarians. The obstacles encountered, and in some cases, the failure of many remodeling or construction projects for library buildings are based on lack of participation

1. Have the infrastructure that facilitates the integration of new information and communication technologies As has been pointed out repeatedly, new information and communication technologies play a central role in the library. To this end, the building should facilitate and promote the integration and optimal use of the technologies in the library. This implies that the building should have a large capacity of electrical infrastructure, with electrical outlets everywhere, wired and wireless Internet access throughout the library, with ergonomic furniture for the use of computers and peripheral equipment. The fix should invite users to use these technologies and there should be a sufficient amount of computational equipment. Given the short lifespan of computers, the use of equipment should be maximized. For example, public libraries should develop programs for one type of user to use during the day and another type of user to benefit from them at night.

2. A space that promotes the transition from the “information commons” paradigm to the “learning commons” paradigm: the same dog with different collar No one questions the importance of people learning to make use of information and technologies of the Information and communication as a strategic resource to achieve their own or collective goals. In the Information and Knowledge Society, a literate person will be able to locate, evaluate and use information efficiently, which will allow him to be an independent learner throughout his life. The goal of new literacy is to create lifelong learners, people trained to find, evaluate, and use Information to solve problems or make decisions. The idea that the library was the center of the academy prevailed. Many grew up under that paradigm. However, with the passage of the years that idea vanished. We remember and agree fully with the statement of Evan Farber, American librarian and promoter of instruction to the user for the decade of the eighties, that the true center of academia is the teaching-learning process. To that end, the library will be effective to the extent that it facilitates, supports and encourages such a process. Libraries should support formal and informal education and promote literacy in information and technologies. Although this function usually falls mainly in school and university libraries, the truth is that this is an inescapable responsibility of all types of library. To that end, library buildings should inspire, stimulate and encourage study, learning and research. This requires the building to have adequate spaces for teaching, to support distance education, to have virtual classrooms, appropriate spaces for the provision of workshops, group study rooms, computer labs, multimedia equipment and programs for teaching.

3. The information resources and technological resources of the library are of no intrinsic value; Their merit lies in the extent to which they are integrated into learning. Many succumb to the temptation to see information resources and technologies as an end and not as a means. They invest in information resources and technologies, but they do not promote the development of information skills or authentic and effective integration of these technologies and resources into the learning process. They put information at the disposal of the people, but they are not provided with the cognitive and documentary tools necessary to select, evaluate, use it effectively and critically, recreate it and disseminate it. In addition, it is necessary to clarify values ​​that promote the use of information in a responsible and ethical way. The stark reality is that the incorporation of information resources and technologies does not translate into improved academic performance and increased quality of learning. In this situation applies that saying of “a lot of noise and Few decades ago, many educators and information professionals have warned of the need to exercise constructivism as a theoretical framework for teaching activities. The student constructs his own knowledge, that the learning is active and collaborative, that the teaching must be meaningful and constructive, that the learning occurs when the student is able to transform the information, and that the However, the reality is that the traditional banking model referred to by Paulo Freire still persists, in which students grasp the information provided by the teacher and then reproduce it exactly or empty it into A review, an exercise, or a report. In praxis, there have been no significant changes in the methodology of the teaching-learning process that reflect a constructivist stance. There is also no real integration of the new information and communication technologies into the curriculum. Information skills are not integrated into the teaching process. There is a willingness on the part of many educators and information professionals to practice constructivism and the integration of information skills, but it is often not clear how to do it, or the conditions for its development are not provided. The current discourse (“the flavor of the month”) is information commons and learning commons. Beagle (2006) defines information commons as “the cluster of network access points and associated IT tools situated in the context of physical, digital, human and social resources organized in support of learning”. Define learning commons as the result or what happens when information commons are “organized in collaboration with learning initiatives sponsored by other academic units, or aligned with learning outcomes defined through a cooperative process”. Under this conceptualization, the success of learning commons will depend not only on a joint action of the learning support units, such as the library and computer systems, but on the integration of the academic units that establish the learning goals for the institution.

Jeremy Lee
Jeremy Lee
Writer, Blogger and tech journalist