The library computer lab transforms into a “thinking lab”

Publication Date09 January 2017
Date09 January 2017
AuthorBruce E. Massis
SubjectLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library & information services
The library computer lab
transforms into a “thinking lab”
Bruce E. Massis
Columbus State Community College, Columbus, Ohio, USA
Purpose The purpose of this column is to examine the process for the transition of library computer
labs into “thinking labs”, where existing library workstation space can be reallocated to provide more
exibility, freedom and creativity for the library patron.
Design/methodology/approach Literature review and commentary on this topic that has been
addressed by professionals, researchers and practitioners.
Findings The transition of library computer labs into “thinking labs” is an initiative where library
planners can experiment with ideas and concepts in library design to provide the most effective user
experience through a “fresh perspective”.
Originality/value The value in exploring this topic is to propose that library planners and designers
create space unlike traditional designs to provide patrons with a more transformative thinking, learning
and creative library experience.
Keywords Libraries, Learning, Transformative, Computers, Labs, Thinking
Paper type Viewpoint
Space reallocation in libraries is frequently on the minds of librarians and
administrators in a continual effort to ensure that the nite space available for patrons
in their buildings is used to its optimum effect. Regardless of the overall square footage
of a library, every inch of that space is valuable to those who frequent and manage it. So,
as the latest long-term trends percolate and as the ever-evolving technology landscape
brings with it questions of how the space can be most efciently used, and nally, as new
approaches to library service persist in altering the manner by which patrons access its
offerings, libraries often appear as if they are in a constant state of modication. This
particular one though, where removing the workstations and its furniture from an
existing computer lab and replacing them with an open “thinking” space with no
workstations might appear to some, a radical shift. However, there have been examples
of institutions having accomplished such a conversion to great success and patron
appreciation. What are some of the details that libraries must pay attention to prior to
embarking on such an initiative?
Bring your own device or library lending model?
Bring your own device
One successful strategy in converting a computer lab to a “thinking lab” is to develop a
plan whereby the library makes a decision to implement a “Bring your own device
Declaration: I declare that there is no potential conict of interest in the research.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
computer lab
Received 19 December 2016
Revised 19 December 2016
Informationand Learning Science
Vol.118 No. 1/2, 2017
©Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/ILS-12-2016-0083

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