Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Lau Studies Student Space, Socialization

An upcoming study will allow university researchers to examine Lauinger Library through a new lens.

The library’s administration has commissioned a group of staff members to document the activity on the building’s second and third floors through still pictures. Photographs will be taken hourly on two randomly chosen days of the month. The images will be taken from specifically marked areas so that researchers can track the use of those areas for a span of time over the next few months.

The examination will allow the staff to suggest improvements to the library, which will then likely be implemented fairly soon according to Stephanie Clark, director of Planning and Assessment,

“[Administrators are] trying to determine the best use of the space we have currently and for the foreseeable future,” Clark said. “The current photo study research will help us determine what incremental improvements we can make now.”

The changes could range from rearranging books or periodicals to adding significant amounts of seating she said.

Clark added that researchers will use the photographs to observe how much time people spend in certain parts of the library, as well as the ways in which they utilize library resources. She said that the data collected from the photo study will eventually be examined alongside the results from past surveys.

“The purpose of this project is to document how specific spaces in Lauinger are being used at different times of the day as well as different times during the semester,” Clark said.

Clark said that leaders of the study specifically intended that images be taken on the second and third floors of the library. The building’s main entrance, off of Healy Lawn, opens onto the third floor, which also houses the reference stacks and the circulation and reserves desk. On the second floor, patrons can find bound periodicals, theses and newspapers. Both levels feature quiet areas, group meeting rooms and technological resources to assist students.

By examining the variety of space available on these two floors, researchers can begin to reconfigure the layout of the library at-large, she stated. The study is not officially connected with the structural renovations proposed in the recently released 2010 Campus Plan. In 2008, the library employed a group of professional advisers and architects to study the possibility of adding physical space to the building.

Yet, the goal of the new study is not only to determine how students study inside the walls of Lauinger, but how they socialize inside it as well.

Clark said that the photographs from the second floor, where the Corp’s student-run coffee shop, The Midnight Mug, is located, will be used to see how students interact. Though photographs will not be taken inside The Midnight Mug itself, the sitting area outside its doors will be documented on film.

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