DAHSL: Developing Academic Health Sciences Libraries


a collaboration to create the 21st century academic health sciences library…

Inkling event at AAMC


Filed under: Virtual Library,

How Physical Does the Library Need to Be?

by: James Shedlock, Director of Galter Health Sciences Library at Northwestern University COM in Library Notes

The announcement that the Johns Hopkins University medical school will close its health sciences library starting January 1, 2012 has stunned many in the library world. A posting on the Welch Medical Library website describes their new reality. As surprising as the news is, the Hopkins staff and their director, Nancy Roderer, deserve credit for making a tough but reasonable decision.

One take away from the Hopkins announcement is that it’s time to rethink our terminology about libraries. The library building may be closing but the library is still open … online. The physical library is less relevant at Hopkins but the electronic library is what users want, need, appreciate and actually use.

You may wonder if this will become more common at other medical schools. Because this is happening at Hopkins, a top ranked research-intensive medical school according to the U.S. News and World Report, I’ve already been asked by NU faculty if this is a trend. I doubt it for established medical schools, and particularly for Northwestern. Hopkins developed separate student facilities for their programs in medicine, nursing and public health and as a result, the students didn’t need to use the physical Welch Medical Library. At Northwestern, the Galter Library is one of the chief education and collaboration facilities for our students, and the medical school has invested money to make the library a versatile space for study, research, resource storage and social functions. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Administrative Issues, Issues and Challenges, , ,


Librarians at Johns Hopkins Unversity in Baltimore, MD are turning their focus to digital delivery of library materials, noting that they will be able to spend more on online materials by closing the doors on the physical facility.  As of January 1, 2010, they will be completely online.  Read more in the  The Digital Shift or Out of the Jungle: Johns Hopkins To Close Its Medical Library.

Filed under: Administrative Issues, Renovating, user experience, Virtual Library,

In the 21st-Century University, Let’s Ban Books

Posted on November 16, 2011 by Editor | Edit

By Marc Prensky in the Chronicle of Higher Education Wired Campus

Recent news that South Korea plans to digitize its entire elementary- and secondary-school curriculum by 2015, combined with the declining cost of e-readers and Amazon’s announcement earlier this year that it is selling more e-books than print books, prompts an interesting question: Which traditional campus will be the first to go entirely bookless? Not, of course, bookless in the sense of using no book content, but bookless in the sense of allowing no physical books. My guess is that this will make some institution famous.

Already, just about everything that an undergraduate needs to read is available in electronic form. Whatever isn’t there electronically, librarians, students, or professors can easily scan, as many already do.

Some colleges are already heading in this direction by requiring or handing out iPod Touches, iPads, Kindles, or Nooks, often preloaded with textbooks and other curricular materials, or by disallowing paper texts for online courses. But I suggest that it’s time to go much further: to actually ban nonelectronic books on campus. That would be a symbolic step toward a much better way of teaching and learning, in which all materials are fully integrated. It could involve a pledge similar to the one that language students and instructors at Middlebury Language Schools take to speak only the foreign languages in which they are immersed during the study program. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: New Libraries, Virtual Library, ,

Case Study: Experimenting with Design and a New Staffing Strategy| Library by Design

Oct 4, 2011,  By Ted Johnson

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Inspired by a regional lava dome, the 55,000 square foot Prescott Valley Public Library, AZ, houses a new hybrid university, town council chambers, and public meeting space in addition to the new library. A folded corten skin and glass window wall wrap the outer shell, offering views of the surrounding community and distant mountains. The library and the university wing (a partnership between Northern Arizona University and Yavapai College) envelop the “volcanic cone” as it erupts from the site. Hiking up an extinct volcano, Glassford Hill, the design team examined the local geology and flora so that they could infuse the entire campus with those colors and textures, from the landscaping to the interior furnishings.

The purpose of the design is to evoke a feeling of adventure and wonder. From the expansive Children’s Division with its interactive wall to the Virtual Interactive Room, each space invites individual contemplation and study as well as group interaction. Small group “campsites,” a genealogy room, a computer lab, an observation terrace, and patios for adults and teens meet the needs of a diverse and changing community. The interior ceiling is lined with an irregular surface of breathtaking cedar. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: New Libraries, , ,

Design Guidance for Libraries, from WBDG

by WBDG Staff, Last updated: 05-26-2010, HERE.


The primary goal of effective library design and space planning is that the facility must respond to the needs of its service population. Once the needs of its service population are determined, the library building must include flexibility in the design of its interior and exterior spaces and elements in order for the library to effectively address the immediate and future needs of its design population.

Since the late 1970s, advanced technologies and alternative methods of how libraries deliver services, i.e., distance learning, electronic media, continue to develop rapidly. Before the late 1970s, housing print media was the main function of a library. Today, Internet access, electronic media, computer technology, and other forms of modern-day advancements have had a profound effect on the function and design of libraries. As a result, library design must take into account all of the issues that may affect its use in the future. Incorporating flexibility and adaptability in the design, planning, and construction of libraries is essential in order for the library to serve the immediate and future needs of its community.

The first step in the design of any library is a written building program that outlines the library’s space needs. An effective program must include input from librarians and library staff who have hands-on experience with the function of a library, its space needs, and the needs of its service population. A general rule of thumb is that the program should project the space needs of the library for 20 years. A library building consultant can also help to prepare the building program. Library design is most effective if the program is developed before beginning the schematic design phase.  Read entire story HERE.

Filed under: Physical Plant, ,

Planning Your Library Makeover: Small Budget, Big Impact Ideas

Julia Crawford, LEED AP, Library Designer

In recent years most libraries throughout the country have shared a common experience: their popularity has increased while their operating and capital improvement budgets have decreased. Libraries today provide essential services such as access to the Internet, media, computers, classes and information not available anywhere else – at least not without paying a fee or buying a cup of coffee. Children, teenagers and adults rely on libraries more than ever before for their learning, research, crafting and gaming needs. With their increasing popularity, many libraries could benefit from an appearance overhaul to meet the changing needs and expectations of their visitors. What are some big impact ideas that can be accomplished on small budgets during challenging times?

Many older libraries feel and look their age and even younger libraries appear older than they are due to the high rise in usage and lack of maintenance resources. Libraries often suffer from peeling wall paint, stained flooring, missing ceiling tiles, old mismatched chairs and oversized study tables that dominate the floor space. Revitalizing the largest surfaces in a space, such as the floors and ceilings, typically results in the greatest visual impact. Consider replacing the old carpet and installing new ceiling tiles in the existing ceiling grid. If replacing the floors and ceilings is not within your budget, repainting the walls a crisp clean neutral color to get rid of the outdated color may be a more feasible undertaking. Display artwork by local artists, add plantings, and revive old but sturdy wooden chairs with a fresh new stain color. Save money (and the environment) by buying used instead of new. Major bookstores that go out of business offer steep discounts on their stylish tables, chairs, display units and even light fixtures that could be used in the transformation of a library space. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Physical Plant, Renovating, ,

You Know How To Capture Your Good Ideas But How Do You Get Others To Support Them

Seems like there’s a lot being written about good ideas these days. If you follow what’s been written here in the past about design thinking, creativity, innovation – and capturing your good ideas when they come – chances are you are already improving at coming up with good ideas and capturing them as well. But just coming up with good ideas isn’t enough. How do you get others – mostly your work colleagues – to buy into your good idea? That’s where most of our ideas tend to run into the proverbial brick wall.

Consider this example based on a rather simple idea – a good one on the surface – that a library worker developed that he thought would make a small, but noticeable difference for some members of the library community. What I like about this idea is that it provides a great example of how we can come up with a good idea by keeping our antennae up so that we more acutely observe and listen in our library environment for ways to design a better library. The staff member noticed that in this one part of the library where there was nothing particular going on, students would gather in small groups to study. They would sit on the floor or pull some chairs together. They might make some noise. The staff member thought the library could do better for these students, but knew the library needed great flexibility to make the most of every piece of real estate. The simple observation lead to a new idea for a better library – create a flexible study space by installing a set of folding room dividers. Not only would it give the students more privacy, cut down on noise and make for a better study space, but it could be enhanced with a flat panel monitor on the wall for collaborative work. Great idea, right. Well you know what happened next. Of course, lots of reasons why that’s a bad idea. Too much foot traffic in that area already. Students who like the current setting will complain. The reference desk will be swamped with students asking how to use the monitor. When the walls are closed we won’t know what the students are doing in there…and so on. Certainly the project will require some funding, but it’s hardly what Jim Collins would refer to as an “above the waterline risk”, not to mention that if any of the imagined problems actually surface the room dividers can easily be removed. Still, there is opposition to the idea. Why does this happen and what can we do about it? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Administrative Issues,

Trends and Challenges identified after re-reading Logan’s 2010 Library Space article

Health sciences libraries building survey, 1999–2009, by Logan Ludwig, PhD, AHIP, FMLA;

J Med Libr Assoc. 2010 April; 98(2): 105–134. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.98.2.004.PMCID: PMC2859257


  • Flexibility
  • Cafés
  • Information/learning commons
  • Single service desk
  • Conference rooms
  • Compact shelving
  • Artwork
  • 24/7 access
  • Wireless connectivity everywhere
  • Specialty functions: …providing space for specialty functions such as videoconferencing, a history of health and medicine room (with fireplace), a reading pavilion for special events such as research day poster sessions, and open reserve reading rooms.


  • rapid technological changes affecting teaching, learning, and research; changes in teaching methodologies
  • sustainability
  • decreasing rates of financial support; skyrocketing prices
  • poorly sited buildings
  • access for people with disabilities
  • replacing mechanical and electrical equipment, or correcting other structural deficiencies.
  • Noise, cleaning, plumbing, heating and ventilation/soundproofing
  • Zoning for quiet and silent study areas and use of white noise
  • Choosing colors that hide dust and dirt
  • maintaining parallel collections and systems, digital and paper
  • reconstructing the traditional concept of the “library as a place” to the “institution’s center for information
  • retooling space for concentration, collaboration, contemplation, communication, and socialization
  • clearer operational vision of the library as the information nexus of the institution and not merely as a physical location

Bottom line: New construction and renovation will continue because what goes on inside libraries now is different than what was planned to go on inside of them when they were built, just as what goes on inside of them today will be different than what goes on inside them tomorrow.

Filed under: New Libraries, Physical Plant, ,

MLA 2010 NEEHSLs Poster #2 of 3 or more

Filed under: Administrative Issues, Multi-Institutional Partnerships, New Libraries, New Schools, ,



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