A few weeks ago I’ve visited the newly renovated Erasmus University Library in Rotterdam (EUR), together with my colleagues Karin and Nicoleta.
This is a short impression of that visit. The first thing you’ll see when you enter the library is the clean and modern open staircase, which is the crown jewel of the renewed design. In fact, the staircase and the two entrances in front of the building are brand new. Before the renovation, the only entrance to the library was via walkway tunnel from the main building. On the wall next to the staircase you’ll see a beautiful tiled panel made by the students and staff. Climbing the stairs, on the way to the second floor, you’ll see “De Communicatiewand” made by the Dutch artist Wim Strijbosch. This art piece was preserved from the old building and fully restored during the renovation.
On the left side is a small chill area with comfortable chairs standing next to newly designed study spaces – each with own environment friendly led light and 2 electrical sockets.
The second half of the ground floor, which is separated by glass doors, is reserved for silent study spaces and there are a lot. This is a very good choice because during the exams period that’s what the students need the most – good and quiet study spaces.
When you arrive on the second floor you’ll find the information desk of the library but also the Self Service Library where you can return and borrow books without any staff assistance. Next to the information desk you’ll find the reading area where you can read books, magazines, newspapers and see the new library acquisitions. In the middle of the building is positioned the Rotterdamsch Leeskabinet – an association library working closely with the Erasmus university for the last 50 years serving its members but also the Erasmus students with its own special collection.
On this and on the second floor you’ll find also the book collections, which are placed in book cabinets not higher than 1.50 cm., which is really nice especially when you browse the collection with someone else – you can still talk to each other keeping an eye contact. Also a lot of books are placed with their covers facing the users, which is really great if you want to quick scan the collection.
There are a lot more innovative and interesting (and some very simple!) solutions to see in the EUR library – from the water tab where the students can quickly refill their water bottles (which is a must during the exam weeks) to the silent study cabins for one person and many, many more. So if you want to see them all I’ll advise you to visit the EUR library in person. Short facts about EUR Library:
The library renovation lasted for 2.5 years before it opened for public on 29th of May this year offering around 900 study spaces for the students and 50 flex workspaces for the staff.
UX quiz question: Which entrance is users favourite- turning doors on the left or automatic door on the right?
Snapshot is a very interesting and highly detailed user experience (UX) study conducted by Andy Priestner and David Marshall from the Futurelib innovation programme at the Cambridge University Library. The main objective of this project was to explore and uncover the research and information behavior of the postdocs and PhD students. The team used a ‘cultural probe’ as preferred UX technique for this study. During the two week long research period the participants were asked to complete a lot of different interactive and creative tasks like for example – completing a daily research diary, photo study, cognitive mapping and more. This approach helped the Futurelib team to get better, holistic view of how the participants accessed information, about their routines, the choices they made and most importantly, what opportunities there were to improve their experience of library services.
Some of the key findings the team discovered were for example: the importance of immediate peer community and inter-disciplinary collaboration for the participants. Another important discovery was the need for better visibility of the library online services but also the type of support, expertise and assistance that the library staff can offer to the researchers.
This May, Andy will help bring existing UX practices to the next level at the TU Delft Library together with the Library R&D team.
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