By Victoria Gill
Miller Library updated its use of technology with a new collaborative workspace, media:scape, that opened up to students.
“There is way more collaborative learning now than with a book,” Jackie DeLong, director of Resource Management said.
Media:scape is a new, innovative workspace, created by Steelcase and designed as a “collaborative work environment,” according to an email sent to students on April 18.
Students who take advantage of this new resource can connect their devices to one display screen, and a button selects which connected device’s screen will appear next.
The media:scape is located in front of the Quantitative Skills Center on the ground floor of Miller Library. The workspace is circled with bright green chairs and there is a television monitor hanging on the wall above it.
This is DeLong’s first year at Washington College. However, she previously worked at two universities — including Radford University — where there were several media:scape tables and many other collaborative electronic devices.
The library currently has an older model of the application. It is rented out from now until the end of the semester.
Vic Costa, director of capital projects of Buildings and Grounds, has worked with Steelcase for over 25 years supplying furniture for projects he has been involved with.
“We’d like to provide something like that for students. Whether it be from Steelcase or if it could do something close to that,” DeLong said.
The library is waiting to hear the cost of purchasing a media:scape in the case that WC wants to permanently install it.
DeLong said she hopes there is enough money from the College to purchase this and enhance electronics in the future.
Students can fill out surveys on the media:scape table or online in order for the library staff to gauge their experiences with this new workspace. Between the two survey platforms, so far there have only been 20 responses.
“We always want student input on everything. We love to hear feedback, not just electronically,” DeLong said. “A lot of the comments on surveys put out talked about how it helps on practicing for presentations and collaboration.”
The library staff has observed that students generally make use of the ground floor more than any other part of the building.
According to DeLong, they are making plans to accommodate the growth of attendance, especially around finals time.
Currently, the Reference and Maryland bookshelf collections are being moved to different sections of the library to help provide more study space and larger work tables on the first floor. The staff is deciding whether to move those books into regular circulation or online.
DeLong said she has other plans to improve the library spaces, including potentially changing how print money is provided, making databases and library staff more accessible, and finding ways to hear more student voices.
“Instead of Sophie’s Café to be a place to buy a bag of chips, for it to be a learning space configurable to the need,” DeLong said.
ffort to increase diversity and inclusion at WC.
“While these are historically African American organizations, they are not only open to African American people,” Smith said. “Every organization has people from different colors, backgrounds, religious traditions — we’re open to those things because we realize that that’s the state of our world, we want to be connected.”