The Lewis-Clark State College Information Commons was officially opened in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, October 2, 2003. Idaho State Board of Education President, Mr. Blake Hall, Idaho State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Marilyn Howard, and LCSC President, Dr. Dene Thomas presided over the dedication ceremony.
A redesign of the library’s main floor, the Information Commons creates a new, interactive environment for the college population, providing them with cutting-edge information technologies situated in close proximity to traditional information resources. The Information Commons is intended to promote new levels of technology integration among all members of the college community, including students, faculty, and staff.
The Information Commons at LCSC serves new functions within the Library while complementing and enhancing the overall, information services of the College.
The Information Commons is a consolidated information center for students, faculty and staff. It provides access to all forms of print, electronic, and human resources for learning. The Information Commons combines a traditional library environment for print and online resources with a modern, casual lounge and a state-of-the-art learning center to access electronic media and technologies.
The Information Commons is a showcase facility where the entire college community (students, faculty, staff, and community partners) meet via and about media and technologies for learning and communications purposes.
The 3-part complex’s glass walls create an open feeling, and existing large windows provide views of the campus green. This 3000 square foot open environment, providing resources and service from several campus units in a “geography” of multiple use, takes its name and philosophic concept from the village commons of Old and New England. In these places, people enjoyed an efficiency of openness, shared resources and shared responsibility.
The LCSC Information Commons is a place to access traditional and online information resources, innovative technologies, and services for learning because:
“In these times, giving students the ability to succeed in an electronic world is a critical part of a college education,” says LCSC Library Director Paul Krause. To this end, the Information Commons brings together computer technology, electronic information resources, and traditional library resources in a single, inviting environment.
The Information Commons is a joint project coordinated by Paul Krause (Director of the Library), Gary Mayton (Director of Technologies for Teaching and Learning), and Carmen Rahm (Director of Information Technology) in the Spring of 2003. LCSC President Dene Thomas and her President's Council OK'd the project in May 2003.
Creating the Information Commons has been a collaborative effort by several groups:
The physical structure of the Information Commons, which includes its three distinct spaces, was constructed by the LCSC Physical Plant staff under the direction of Scott Brown. Infrastructure and equipment installation was completed by Jerry Hindberg (Interim Director of Information Technologies) and Dave Taylor (Director of Media Services) and their respective staffs. Dick Shedd (Instructional Technologist, Division of Education) served as consultant to the Physical Plant on certain design matters. The staff of the Library contributed to the necessary movement of furniture and book collections and maintained library hours throughout the project. All work took place during the Summer of 2003.
Situated on the main floor of the LCSC Library, the Information Commons is a highly-visible and highly-accessible environment on campus. Its intentional placement in proximity to other forms of media and information is meant to provide better access, better integration of print and online resource tools, and a more productive work environment for the entire college community.
One defined space of the LCSC Info Commons serves as a walk-in, technology-rich laboratory for students, faculty and staff. Referred to as the Technology Lounge, this glass-showcased space offers a variety of work environments for its patrons. It includes several traditionally-arranged, carrel-situated, desktop computer stations. It also includes quick access to desktop computers at a walk-up, counter space. In addition, a significant portion of the Tech Lounge contains lounge furniture in which patrons may utilize one of several laptop computers housed in the Lounge, one of several laptops available for check out from the Library Circulation Desk, or one’s own laptop computer. The entire facility has both wireless and hardwire access to the Internet. The Tech Lounge provides a casual environment to access electronic media and tools while maintaining easy access to traditional information and media sources as well.
The second new space constructed in the Information Commons is a media-rich classroom intended to host learning activities that promote the use of technology skills and tools. Featuring 18 computer stations, the latest projection equipment, and a 20-foot long, wired conference table, the Learning Center is one of the most advanced, electronic classrooms on the campus. This was constructed to serve as a formal instructional space for students and as a professional development location for faculty and staff.
The third component surrounds the glass enclosures. It includes a staffed reference desk, special collections, new books, and the electronic and print-reference resources of the library. The entire environment thus provides an integration of teaching, learning, research and discovery in a geography that blends tradition and innovation.
The $125,000 price tag to construct and equip the Information Commons was paid entirely from existing resources and recently-awarded, external funding. Sources of funds include library donations, moving a small laboratory from Sam Glenn Complex, grants, diversion of library equipment replacement funds, and students’ annual technology fees. Key sources of funding include:
The Information Commons includes a Technology Lounge with comfortable, casual seating where students can sample the best in electronic resources and computer technology along with hardcopy library offerings. The Internet as a research tool, wireless laptops, Windows® and Macintosh® OS computers, coffee tables bearing a sampling of current newspapers and the library’s newest books, as well as a lab technician offering support are all available. Shared support from Information Technology (IT) and the library allow for maximum hours of operation.
Functions of the LCSC Information Commons Technology Lounge:
Another feature of the Information Commons is a technology-rich classroom, called the Information Commons Learning Center. Uses will include student instruction in technology and information literacies, faculty development activities related to the integration of technologies into teaching and learning, and presentations for the public. As well, it will showcase research-related and technology-enhanced course instruction. Current digital technologies will be available as both teaching and learning tools. The Info Commons Learning Center will enable faculty to model, to explore, to develop, and to practice skills (associated with technology literacy and the integration of technologies for teaching and learning) to students, staff, and other faculty. The technology-rich classroom is an important environment for realizing innovative ways to teach and to learn.
Functions of the LCSC Information Commons Learning Center:
A wide audience will utilize the Learning Center of the Information Commons. In addition to classes and professional development activities for the immediate college community (students, faculty, and staff), the class/conference room may also host meetings and presentations that would include a range of college partners from the community and region, should such meetings require its special presentation and access tools.
The staffed, reference desk, special collections, new books, and the electronic and print-reference resources of the library complete the Information Commons environment, thus providing an integration of teaching, learning, research and discovery in a geography that blends tradition and innovation.
Displaying tremendous excitement about the Commons, Paul Krause says, “Bits and pieces of this concept are present in several places, but LCSC’s configuration will make this a very special learning place. Plus, the notion of it fits so well with the college’s mission and our reputation for strong support for student learning and life.” He adds, “The new look and the accompanying changes in our displays and use of art will be an exciting part of this project.”
The LCSC Information Commons represents another way for those at LCSC to demonstrate their commitment to student-centered and learning-focused higher education. Lewis-Clark State College connects learning to life.
For more information about the Information Commons at LCSC, please contact:
PDF versions of the floor plans are available:
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