Illinois library services start building new media centers

The University libraries are adapting for the future, hoping to meet more of the needs of students and faculty.

Sue Searing, interim associate librarian for User Services, thinks the change that will affect the most people is the library’s new Web page, which is now up and running.

“The remodeling we’re doing, the moving of collections, that all affects the people who come here and walk in the door. But many, many more people access us remotely,” Searing said.

The first floor of the Main Library is going through a remodeling stage, too. At the end of the spring semester, the Business and Economics Library was closed and the librarians were sent into business buildings. The first floor “will be remodeled”:http://www.library.illinois.edu/sshel/news/SSHELibrary.html to create a consolidated Social Sciences, Health and Education Library.

Students with Android phones can now download the Minrva app, which students can use to locate books and view what “technology is available. “:http://minrvaproject.org/download

Jim Hahn, “Orientation Services and Environment librarian”:http://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/about/staff.html, played a role in developing the phone application. He said they are already working on a second version.

“There’s a lot of cool things that we want to implement in the next version that we learned about through some user studies,” Hahn said.

On top of the technology availability aspect, Hahn said they are going to add group room availability to the app as well. They are also going to add a “favorites module,” so that students can favorite a book they enjoyed. Once a student “favorites” something, it will be sent to their Facebook timeline. Another idea the app team is currently working on is an augmented reality feature, which would allow students to get information about a book simply by pointing their camera at it.

The Undergraduate Library is also under the process of adding a “media commons” area. It will be located on the upper level of the UGL, near the current location of the CITES computer lab.

The media commons project is a collaborative effort among the library, CITES, the Office of the CIO, Center for Media Excellence colleagues and faculty and student users.

The media commons project is funded by the student Library-IT fee.

Lori Mestre, head of the Undergraduate Library, said the media commons will be broken down into several zones.

One zone will be a gallery of iPad kiosks, which will highlight the types of services the commons will offer.

The second zone is for gaming, which will allow students to perform gaming research as well as play.

The third zone is a mobile application prototype zone that will allow students to create their own applications or experiment with those that have already been created.

The fourth zone, a studio where students can create and edit videos and audios, will be added later in the year.

The first phase of the project should be completed by November.

_Steven can be reached at [email protected]_