Last week the we were able to finally reveal our initial design concept. You can see the concept posters on the glass wall in the former reception area in  SJ1.  There is still a great deal more to show off, but for now you can finally get a sense of what will fit in the new library space, and how the different learning zones flow together.

Just days after showing our design concept to the St. Jerome’s Community, we’ve received some fantastic feedback. Based on those questions and critiques, we have come up with a few changes that address some of the issues that were raised such as spacing, and practicality of furniture, as well as accessibility. Below is the first example. Based on feedback from students we decided to update a chalk wall and informal lecture space installation into a modular group work space with multiple writing surfaces and multi-level seating.

Before – chalk wall
After – creative group space

Accessibility in an older building is always an issue. Light, portable furniture with casters (whenever possible) is a key piece of the commons space aimed to increase accessible in our study spaces. Additionally, wide through-ways and open spaces will increase accessibility, and also increase the adaptability of the commons space and the adjacent gallery space. We want our library users to be able to make these spaces their own as much as possible. Taking a few minutes to reorganize furniture each morning is worth the time and effort when you can watch students creating and learning in ways you never even imagined. If the space isn’t used in the way we originally intended, it can easily be reorganized and reshaped.

When we started researching our user needs and gathered input from the St. Jerome’s community about what they desired in a new library space, group work space was a unanimous winner. The new commons area of the St. Jerome’s University Library is intended to meet these needs. When a student recently pointed out that the individual study pods in the initial design concept didn’t fit with the overall feel of an open social learning environment, I took note. Why have what are clearly intended to be quiet and solitary work spaces in the middle of an open social learning landscape? Good question. Below you can see the result. The change also addresses the need for accessible, and adaptable work spaces that many group assignments require.

Before – Individual Study Pods
After – improved group work space


I hope these two small examples illustrate the impact that community feedback can have on a design concept. We are not yet at a final design, and every critique and suggestion will be considered within the confines our physical constraints.

Please feel free to share your comments with us, and keep an eye out for organized information sessions coming up in the near future. We are getting ever closer to creating an interactive display space in what will become the new entrance to the St. Jerome’s University Library. Together, we can design our future library what will our future library.


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