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Also known as an Information Commons, the proposed Library Commons would enhance existing information technology resources, services and support on the main floor of the Resnick Library.

The basic design of the library reconfiguration has been outlined.  We need input on the technology resources before we can determine electrical needs and furnishings.

CIS has responded in a "child page" CIS Questions on Library Commons. Additional comments and questions appear from CIS appear on this page in blue italic. Resolved questions have been turned into black bold and the italics removed.
Library comments in maroon.  

Using the Template for New Projects at Open Delhi Discussionspage, here are the functional requirements:

1. Start the new project process by detailing your existing business practices that the project will impact. Tell us what you do now. Then tell us what you would like to change. Why isn't it working now? What impact will the change have on those who use your services? What impact will the project have on other areas of your department? The rest of the College?

Can you document the impact this project will have on other departments? 



Currently Provide

Proposed Expansion

Open access computing for students

16 computers in clusters of 4 (Reference area)
 2 walk up computers
Total desktops: 18
Total laptops: 6 
Total on 2nd floor:  24

Additional 3 desktops on 3rd floor (2 in Merrill Room and 1 open access).  24 computers in library lab (Bush 226) for classes, training and overflow from Reference computers.

Total in library:  52

Another 2-3 ?? special purpose computers in the Learning Center available for students.

Double capacity to 36 computers (mix of laptop and desktop).  Desktops could be thin clients if functional and cheaper.  Students do not need a lot of storage capacity.  They access internet, VanckoHall, webmail, and MSOffice apps. 

What plug-ins will be required for Internet access, Vancko Hall, etc.? Are they available on the thin clients? Will thin clients offer your users a complete experience? I would hate to see the investment made only to find they are inadequate.
Library: we look to CIS for technical details.  We assume if thin client operates like a desktop (does it?) from software perspective, it would be adequate.  What kinds of functionality should we be worried about losing?
CIS will plan for current functionality, the same as computers in the library now and the Main academic lab. Thin clients run software at the server level rather than locally as PCs do. While thin clients may be more cost effective, you will lose the flexibility of a true PC. CIS also has to determine if it has the available time and resources to support the thin clients in your environment.
Is the current configuration adequate for your needs?

TBD: wireless printing, electrical capacity for desktop and laptop computers.
These are all critical elements in the project process and need to be addressed.

Could you be more specific as to what you mean by "wireless printing"?
Library:  printing from wireless device (ie Resnet).
CIS interprets this to mean both College-owned notebooks and student-owned notebooks. We do not interpret this to include other hand held devices, like smart phones and mobile web access PDAs.

Open study spaces

Seating capacity at tables on 2nd floor: 
18 computer task chairs at Reference
16 study chairs at tables
13 comfortable chairs
Total seating main floor library:  57

Will this have a negative impact on your open seating? In other words, will there still be adequate space for those not using computers or will computer seats be tied up by students who have no need for the technology.
Library: we have freed up space by removing books and shelving on the main floor. in fact, we'll increase the open seating even with added computing spots.

Group work areas

Group study space on 2nd floor:
Reference computers (4 PCs per cluster) are too crowded for groups, but students still gather around, sometimes on their knees, working on group projects.  Students also work around existing tables, either studying or with laptops (esp at night). 

Build more group work spaces, place to project presentations for group discussion.  Dual monitors? Software for sharing?  Need help designing these.

Are group work spaces and presentation spaces one in the same? What do you mean by "software for sharing"? More discussion on this topic is attached in the Questions section.
Library: two different things here - PRESENTATION space would be where a small group 2-6 students would gather to practice their presentations on a large screen. This could be with a projector or just a large flat screen computer monitor mounted on the wall.   SHARING software such as Teamspot, which is probably too expensive and a low priority at this point. 
We remain confused about the difference betwen your group work spaces and presentation spaces concepts. We look forward to seeing the proposed floor plans. 

Technology support: scan, copy, record

1 scanner at Reference desk, requires assistance from library staff (on loan from CIS), tied directly to staff computer at Reference desk
1 scanner unusable (Canon color copier/printer has scan capability, but is not enabled)
 Microphone/headphones available to record on any computer in library (narrate powerpoint, record lessons for foreign language class).

Make scanning station at Ref a student workspace.
Figure out how to use Canon copier scanning.

The color Canon will not function as a scanner with the Fiery processor (Command Workstation) in place. 

Invest in large format scanner for archives.

What maximum size is "large format," what computer would the scanner be attached to, how will the files be stored and shared and in what format?
Library: 11x17 so we can scan and digitize our photographs and older college publications, such as the student newspaper, The Oracle.
A B-Size flatbed scanner will run between $2500 and $5000. You could consider using the scanner in the Resnick Learning Center or one of the Document Management Centers to create you files. 

Technology support: software

72 hrs/week on site, by phone and online (IM/email) for campus-supported software (MS office suite, VanckoHall, WebCT, BroncoWeb, Email, Web searching, Library resources, etc.)

Continue to support technology needs.  Train students and staff (or add tech support students) on specific applications, troubleshooting, etc. 
You could consider hiring IT interns or students with advanced skill to provider this support.

Research support

72 hrs/week, professional staff available on site to help students find and evaluate research materials (books, videos, web documents, journals, etc.) whenever library is open.  Also available online (IM, email) and by phone.

Continue to support students and faculty doing research, writing papers, citations, etc.  Free up librarians from technology support to focus more on research and content/instruction.

Wireless access

Available throughout library and outside the library in the Agora

Continue wireless support.  Explore wireless printing.  What about wireless desktops?  Any advantages?

If students will be printing from their own notebook computers they will need an appropriate driver and CIS would have to explore permissions issues. Wireless thin client computers are available as well as configuring desktop computers with wireless access cards. The advantage of a wireless desktop device is no charging and circulation issues like with notebooks, yet flexibility in location. These could potentially be slower than hard-wired connections.

This remains an issue for CIS to resolve. We understand the functionality required. From there we will work to identify the appropriate solution and advise you of the costs. 


1 black&white Dell printer (ltr, legal (manual feed), xxsheet capacity, 3 trays)
This is the primary printer, it's free
1 color Canon copier/printer (ltr, legal, 11x17; xx sheet capacity)
Copier available any time to walk-up users ($.15/side ltr/legal, .30 for 11x17.  Printing only available when student requests color printing.  Jobs are released from Circulation Desk and money collected ($.15/side).

Would like to print from laptops to ease demand during peak busy periods. 
Maybe we need a "print station" computer (near the entrance) where students can retrieve documents from email, jumpdrive, shared drive, and print quickly.

See the first sentence above - by laptops are you referring to student- or library-owned computers? A "print station" would likely need to offer the same software students are using on their own computers if the intent is to retrieve documents from flash drives or other sources for printing. Would a "print station" end up tied up for quick edits, particularly if other hardware is not available? Note that a "print station" differs here from a "release station" which holds print-ready files for release to a printer.

Again we understand the desired functionality and it piggy-backs nicely with the plans for a print control system. 

Presentation rehearsal space

Library Lab, 226 when available.  Not readily accessible for students as classes are often scheduled in there during busy times of day when students need space to work.

We look forward to seeing floor plans so we can better determine what approach meets your needs. 

2. Once you have documented existing practices, tell us who your target audience is.  What group will benefit from the project? How? What value will they perceive from the completed project?


Students and faculty. 
Through data tracking and user surveys, students have indicated a need for more computing capacity and group work spaces where they can create and practice class presentations. 

Small group advising and training would be possible in a small group work area (for 6-8 people).

We would like more input from faculty about how they might use any new group spaces created (eg presentation practice areas). 

We agree that input from faculty about how this will be used will go a long way towards justifying the project. We don't want to make assumptions about "if we build it they will come." 

3. What is your vision for the change the project implements? What will the new environment look like? What are the goals of your project? These are broad questions, not detail oriented. This is a "big picture" question. 


Flexible, open, movable computing, study and technology services.
As much helpdesk support on site as possible when library is open.
Self-help, easy to navigate resources and tools.
Portable to other environments on campus.

Have you investigated how the HelpDesk support will be provided and what impact it will have on that organization?

There is no discussion above of new self-help resources and tools. Where will these come from and how will they be implemented?

How will this change to the Library be portable to other environments? 

4. Again, address broadly: When and how will you integrate this new technology into your business practices? What is your plan for training your staff to use the new technology?

Please advise your timeline. Will your staff need training or any new skill sets? 


Helpdesk support....
Learning Center functions.

5. Finally, you should also identify a contact in your department who will coordinate the project, your Project Sponsor. This will be the primary contact for CIS. Do you have anyone else who needs to be CC'd on communications?

Lead contact: Pam Peters,, x4643, IM: delhipam
cc contacts: Library staff via the Resnick discussion list and Confluence

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  1. Pam, any thoughts on external funding? Seems like this would be good for a grant or member money.

    1. Definitely. I have approached a donor and should have a firm response by week of May 19.  That money could help with new equipment and furnishings.  Big question marks are wiring and electrical capacity, if we added computers and equipment -- I'm looking at the floor plan right now.  We may seek additional funding if further expansion, phase 2, etc. is desirable.

  2. Pam-I may have missed the discussion there consideration about pulling coax or fiber cable to the 2nd floor during your summer renovation?  We've discussed cables many times in the past and this might be a nice time to do the work?

    1. You're right...we talked about cable for TVs in library and learning center.  I think funding was a problem for both of us.  I also wasn't sure how the TVs would be used - other than for emergency broadcasts.  What ideas do you have?

    2. The last time it was quoted a couple years ago it was between $5,000 and $7,000 to install the CATV. We would have to obtain revised quotes at this point in time as we have a different CATV provider.

  3. Re: thin clients in libraries,  Kathleen Barkham at Jamestown Community College recently posted to SUNY Library Directors' list:
    "We have used thin clients for the libraries' public workstations for approximately 6 years and have used them even longer in our classrooms. We are now, however, scheduled to replace the public workstations and are deliberating about whether we should switch to PCs at this point."

    "Strengths of the thin clients have been their dependability and stability.  They have required very little maintenance and for the most part have worked day-in, day-out.  On the other hand, models as old as those we now own do not lend themselves well to some of the newer library applications, particularly regarding media.  While we are testing a new model thin client, we would very much appreciate hearing from anyone who has had experience in this area." 

  4. These are really interesting (portable) Help Desks at Univ Kentucky Information Commons, from Herman Miller (of course).

  5. My initial interpretation is this is a proposal to build a second Academic Computing lab on campus.

    How does this relate to ideas that have been floated about converting the BookStore area into a larger Academic Computing Lab to meet student needs (once CADI and Barnes and Noble move to Farrell in 2010)? Budgets what they are, it seems like this proposal would duplicating the services CIS offers in Sanford with similar services in the Library? 

    Maybe our demand for resources justifies two computing facilities to meet student needs, but that has always come with the caveat of double the staff required to keep two facilites open and hence the original consolidation of all labs into Sanford in 1999. Maybe it makes sense to consolidate Academic Computing Services into the Library and discontinue them in Sanford Hall, turning services over to the Library and freeing up CIS staff to concentrate on other work. I have no opinion at this time, I'm just trying to absorb the context of this proposal.



    1. There is some overlap, especially with the general purpose computing (typing papers, doing research, etc.). It would be good to decide which services need to be offered in which location and where we can consolidate (as we do in the summer with one "lab" in the library). Earlier conversations have suggested Sanford is/could be viewed as delivering more program specific labs (architecture, cadd, web, networking, math, etc). The library and learning center is more of a general purpose study and research lab or commons.   We have tutoring, research assistance, advisement, etc. as well as physical resources and a cafe.  We need to evaluate the services and hours offered at each site as well.

      1. "We need to evaluate the services and hours offered at each site as well." We need to evaluate the resources required by multiple locations. There was very sound reasoning when all the labs were combined into one facility a decade ago. We were in the middle of a financial crunch and trying to support more computers than we had the resources to manage. The primary driving force was to be able to provide the computer labs the campus needed with a minimum of staff. By combining into one facility, we were able to offer superior support for what had been a hodge-podge of labs scattered across campus. 10 years later we are in a new financial crisis, the staff is not any larger and we are using even more resources to support the labs we have. CIS has faced scope creep as a new lab has been added in Farnsworth for the BT Architecture program and another in the Electrical Building for the Controls program. Expanding the Library computing facilities is going to demand stretching that limited staff between two locales. Growing the Library computer environment is not going to lessen the need for staffing Sanford. Even moving the entire general computing lab to Bush will not. Offering superior support for Delhi's computer classroom facilities is a lot more than unlocking the doors and turning on the lights. It is having technically able staff ready to deal with problems: keeping classes running smoothly is critcal to the College's mission.

  6. My apologies, I have been watching the Information Commons page an not this one (the Library Commons).

    My understanding of an Information Commons is based on the ideas around "The Commons," that is, a place of public space where those with similar needs or interests can meet to share resources.

    Building on this interpretation, my enthusiasm for an Information Commons is to create an environment where students and faculty can meet to co-create. This is significantly different than existing computing facilities on campus, which focus on access. Essentially, an academic computer lab provides access to technology for individual use--a student sits at a computer station and works alone to complete an assignment using the various technology resources available (computer, printer, software, Internet, etc.). However a commons provides an environment where multiple people (students, faculty and academic support staff) can meet to collaborate. Here students of a class may meet to work on a group project; faculty may meet with student groups for discussions, research or brainstorming; students may meet with Learning Center Staff or Librarians to help with citations, research, writing/presentation skills, etc. Simply put: a computer lab provides technology resources, while a commons provides academic resources. These two perspectives provide distinct missions supporting the individual versus the group.

    • Academic Computing Labs are quiet, Information Commons encourage discussion.
    • Academic Computing Labs are for individual work, Information Commons are for group work.
    • Academic Computing Labs foster self-study and independent learning, Information Commons foster constructist and community learning.
    • Academic Computing Labs provide technology, Information Commons provide academic support/resources.

    If the goal is to set up another Academic Computing Lab, I would offer that this is not needed as we do not see the demand and it replicates existing services. In addition, any argument for "convenience," i.e the Library is closer to the dorms, can not be justified due to the costs. If this is indeed the vision for the Library/Information Commons I would have to oppose its development.

    However, if the Library/Information Commons is to extend services beyond access to include spaces for group work, academic support from the Library and RLC staff, then I think there is a great opportunity to provide services currently not available anywhere on campus (except informally and disparately).

    Considering the latter, I would offer that the technology discussions are secondary to discussions specific to staffing and space: who and how will staff provide/support academic services? These may already be under consideration, even articulated elsewhere, however I would suggest environmental differences between an Academic Computing Lab and an Information Commons (and thus current needs) would be:

    • Space for collaborative work
      • Small meeting rooms for discussions among 2-6 people
      • Large meeting rooms for discussions among 6-20 people
      • Space for "multi-stations" where multiple people can work on one computer (not necessarily a Delhi computer, but even their own laptop)
    • Access to Academic Support Staff
      • Librarians
      • Tutors
      • Researchers
    • Access to Academic Materials
      • Collections
      • Texts
      • Reference Materials

    Note, the above does not necessarily include "technology" as seen here. Only after the above are designed would it be appropriate to assess technology support requirements.

    1. As you mentioned, academic computing labs are by definition: quiet, for individual work, and foster self-study and independent learning.  Currently, the usage of the academic computing lab in Sanford includes: group work, peer-tutoring, and much discussion (both academic and otherwise). 
      Ideally, the existence an Information Commons would allow the Academic Computing Lab to function solely as an Academic Computing Lab.

      1. The proposed Sanford plan from a couple of years ago called for turning 111 into a collaborative learning space in the renovation. We've always recognized the need for both quiet and active spaces in the Sanford facility. Hence the initial design had the main lab and CyberLand.

  7. Had some of this conversation at Cabinet yesterday. All good comments and ideas, now we need to define an approach. Our goal should be how to improve services (meet the changing needs) for our students, without increasing costs or duplicating services. OR maybe we can save some money while adding required services. I Think Ron's and Pam's response are a good start.

    We need to find out 1. What students need 2. How they are using current labs ( I think we are still tracking this)  3. What are space requirements and availability etc.

    There is no new budget and the Tech Fee is already tight, I am also not interested in creating expenses down the road that we can not afford (maint., replacement)

    So we have some ideas we need to prove the concepts.  Who should lead this? I see Pam as Project Owner/sponsor and Ron as Project Manager. Is this ready to move into project dev. cycle? I think so.

    1. I am very concerned about the financial implications, particularly in light of losing SCAP, which moved $45-50,000 of expense back to the Tech Fee. I don't see this as a good time to be increasing our long term commitments to equipment replacement. I also don't think the $50,000 gift is going to go very far when we are talking infrastructure, furniture and a variety of equipment.

      We are not quite ready to move this up in the project development cycle. We still have unanswered questions here and on the CIS Questions page. We really need more campus input as well.

    2. I'd be interested in seeing a floor plan defining space by function/purpose (not technology), e.g small group meeting room, small group meeting tables, large group rooms, multi-user workstations, etc. Taking Brian's que, what are the services that the Information/Library Commons will provide that are not currently offered/met with other resources?

      I agree that Pam would be the ideal Product Sponsor with Ron's role one of support until the Functional Requirements have been defined by those interested an Information/Library Commons.

  8. I will upload some floor plans that students did for us 2 years ago and some other sketches.   There is no hard construction envisioned, but rather flexible, functional space that would allow more group and individual study. 

  9. The new issue of Educause Quarterly is all about Learning Spaces: