Reimagining TUT campus libraries – a project unfolding
The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has as one of its goals, the provision of a supportive environment for teaching and learning, working and, living for staff and students. In line with this goal, the strategic objective of TUT Library and Information Services (LIS) is to provide learning and research spaces perceived by our clients to be enabling and conducive for learning and research.
In keeping with the recent trends evolving in academic libraries nationally and internationally to combine digital and traditional library services, libraries need to make provision for contemporary learning spaces designated for the delivery of electronic resources within an environment that boasts skilled staff. Greater access to resources and facilities is in direct support of contributions to research output within institutions. These learning spaces within libraries generally involve the construction or renovation of existing areas and usually feature the ability to reconfigure seating in these facilities to accommodate a variety of study and learning methods (Community and Liaison, 2009; Lippincott, 2010).
As a first project, TUT has identified one of its campus libraries for reimagining. Some of the considerations for the project include the historical planning of the building which has resulted in inefficient utilisation of office work spaces, as well as the unavailability of sufficient study space for students; recent developments resulting in a decline of certain library services, which has in turn resulted in a need to reconsider the utilisation of spaces previously allocated to these services/collections, the need for technology enabled study spaces with device charging facilities and improved Wi-Fi access for students.
The project will focus on four main areas: Spaces – addressing challenges with the utilisation of space in the current building, as well as changing user’s needs; Services –the revisiting of some services in line with modern library trends; Technology – the provision of technology enabled workspaces for students; and People – the project team, library staff and University students.
The project is still in its conceptual stages; the project team currently consists of library staff, architects, interior designers and funding partners. This paper will highlight some of the considerations and challenges faced by the project team in reimagining a campus library.