Piloting Graduate Student Spaces and Services in Temporary Digs




Flaxbart, Jenifer

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The UT Libraries at The University of Texas at Austin has undertaken a series of phased projects in its main library, the Perry-Castaneda Library (PCL), since 2013. These projects have transformed spaces and services, introduced innovative technologies, and developed a forward-thinking culture that is redefining our relationship with the UT community and resulting in collaborations to prototype new means of research lifecycle support and academic success. The latest project, designed with focus group input and survey responses from over 1,100 graduate students and faculty, and in consultation with the Graduate Student Assembly, the Office of Graduate Studies, and the Graduate Student Writing Group, leverages temporary access to an entry-level reading room and adjacent office suites recently vacated by staff. Once lightly retrofitted with internal funding, these areas will be repurposed as a Scholars Commons for silent study, salon events and exhibits to showcase excellence in research, and graduate student collaboration and networking. Slated to open in January 2016, in addition to varied types of spaces and events, the Scholars Commons will offer consultation services, a Data Lab, and workshops designed with campus partners to enhance research skills and introduce users to digital scholarship tools. The assessment plan will utilize multiple methods to document use and assess the effectiveness of spaces and services, and inform plans for a permanent Scholars Commons. The knowledge gained, assessments used, and “before” and “after” comparisons will be highlights of the presentation.



Presentation given at Transforming Libraries for Graduate Students: Services, Instruction, Spaces Conference, April 1, 2016, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA.

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