|Patricia A. Steele
Ruth Lily Interim Dean of University Libraries
|Carolyn M. Walters
Executive Associate Dean of the Library
In Library as Place: Rethinking Roles. Rethinking Space, Geoffrey A. Freeman wrote that the “library is the only centralized location where new and emerging information technologies can be combined with traditional knowledge resources in a user-focused, service-rich environment that supports today’s social and educational patterns of learning, teaching, and research.” Creation of the Research Commons in the East Tower of the Herman B. Wells Library at Indiana University-Bloomington will offer support in one central campus location to faculty and graduate students at any point in the complex research process. By assembling groups and expertise now distributed throughout the campus, the Research Commons will blend technology with traditional resources to serve as a center for a wide range of scholarly activities that will transform traditional research library space.
This presentation will focus on the development of the Research Commons concept and vision that will leverage three established strengths of the libraries:
Expertise: Perhaps the greatest promise of the Research Commons will be its ability to draw together many layers of expertise in one location. As a place for community-building, the Research Commons will address the need for scholars to interrelate, both within and across the conventional boundaries of their disciplines.
Infrastructure: The Herman B. Wells Library offers essential space in a prime campus location. The entire East Tower of the Wells Library, with floor space greater than 11 football fields, will be dedicated to the Research Commons. Technology will be an essential and conspicuous component of the Research Commons, with equipment necessary to support a wide range of scholarly activity.
Information Resources: A research library “the traditional locus for scholars to interact among the collections they value” can offer similar opportunities in a digital age. The rich collections of the IUB Libraries will be a central feature of the Research Commons.
The presenters will discuss the planning process, engaging campus partners, faculty and librarians, and how the Research Commons fits into the campus master planning process.