The library faculty and staff have converted the southeast corner of the library’s first floor (near the current magazines display) into a Learning Café area, complete with diner-style booths and café tables, as well as small portable dry-erase boards on wall hooks and markers to be used for collaborative study. The Learning Café area was repainted by library staff over the summer to distinguish it from the rest of the library.
The impetus for converting this area is the success many academic libraries across the country have experienced in installing cafés; they have proven to be extremely popular among both students and faculty in institutions that have implemented them. The café idea was also proposed by the consultants who conducted the Hackney Library space utilization study in 2005, which was funded by an LSTA grant. This partial renovation of the library provides a relaxing place for students to work collaboratively or to take a break from studying. The area has already proved extremely popular with our own students, who have already made extensive use of the booths in the short time they’ve been available.
Funding for the Learning Café area and its furnishings has been provided by the cash award that accompanied the American Library Association’s prestigious John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations award, which Hackney Library received in June at the ALA annual conference in Washington, DC in recognition of its 2009 Band Book Tour Open House.