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Redesigning space to fit evolving student needs
Starting June 17, 2013, Northwestern University Library began a facelift of the room formerly known as the Reference Room. The room will be transformed from a long-standing reference area into a dynamic, collaborative space.
The goal of this project is to take this traditional space and transform it into a flexible, vibrant work space that fulfills the needs of today's students—fostering productive connections between students, while also allowing for easy access to library services and expertise. Research assistance and access to the library’s reference collection will be provided at new locations within University Library.
The new space will be in place in time for the start of the fall quarter. “But it won’t be complete, per se,” said User Experience librarian Geoff Swindells. “We intend for this to be a space in evolution, a responsive space. It will be a work in progress as we gather feedback from students using the space.”
The space, located on the first floor of the South tower, was redesigned with the direct input of students. Some of that input was gathered through traditional surveys, but a large portion of the input came from the students in the Segal Design Institute’s spring 2013 Design Thinking and Communication course. Most of the features in the new space come directly from student feedback, such as more power outlets, an eclectic layout that supports a wide range of activities and work styles, and the casual seating at the center of the room.