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July 8, 2010

Dean of Library presents “Information Commons” at Pennsylvania conference

The University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Dean of the Library joined a panel of librarians to deliver a presentation at the Pennsylvania Library Association College & Research Division Annual Conference in June.

ULM’s Don Smith was a panelist at the conference titled, “Information Commons in the Wild: Lessons from the Field,” held at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania on June 15.

The panel of four, including Dean Smith, made presentations in an afternoon session of the conference to discuss implementation of the “Information Commons” concept in their campus libraries. The Information Commons concept focuses on providing collaborative, well-equipped and flexible workspaces within a university library to bring more students into it and encourage active learning.

“Other components include providing access to specialized software and hardware, as well as having a library staff knowledgeable in technology and related services,” said Smith. “But even more important to the concept is the idea that students can relax and have fun, unlike libraries from the past.”

Other panelists at the conference joining Smith included Katherine Furlong of Lafayette College; Sally Kalin of Pennsylvania State University; and Anuradha Vedantham of the University of Pennsylvania. Keynote speaker, Dr. Scott Bennett, Yale Librarian Emeritus and consultant, also made a presentation on the Information Commons concept.

“The response from the attendees was exceptionally lively for a conference of this sort and ranged from anxiety to surprise at library users’ responses,” concluded Smith.

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