Panel Description:

The theme of this year's panel is Constructing Our Future: re-designing our spaces, rethinking our roles.

Hard hats, re-orgs, and new job duties for community college librarians are signs that change is in the air.  Our panelists will speak about library leadership during construction and renovation projects. Specifically, how changes to our physical space also shape our future roles within the college. 

Each presenter will share details of their Library’s recent renovation projects, touching on the following areas: 

  • How physical workplace changes affect the daily work of staff, front-line librarians, and management teams.
  • How trends in higher education are impacting library spaces, organizational charts, services, and collections. 
  • How tools are used to assess the impact of these changes on student learning.

We’ve compiled a diverse group of Librarians to inspire you and set the tone for the day.  Read more about their constructions projects below:   


The Library Re-Created as Learning Commons: A Remodeling Project at the College of DuPage

In 2015, the College of DuPage Library completed a three-year, $30 million complete remodeling project of the college library. This involved renovating all 100,000 square feet of space on two floors while keeping the library open the entire time. I will outline the logistics necessary to make this happen and discuss the intended benefits of re-creating the library as a learning commons space. 


Leech Lake Tribal College has tackled massive changes in recent years.  Until 2005, the library was located in a renovated gym locker room at a former high school before moving into temporary space.  Last February, the library moved out of their transitional space and into a new 8,000 sq. ft. library building, constructed entirely debt free thanks to their extensive fund raising and grant-writing initiatives.  Along with the new building, the library has also adopted a new ILS, redesigned the website, joined the Federal Depository Library Program as one of the first e-only members, and begun the transition to being a joint-use library.  These updates occurred in the span of about a year, and the resulting increase in library usage has been huge. 

LLTC is on the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. Over 90% of their students are native, with members of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe representing the largest faction. Within the world of community colleges, tribal colleges like LLTC represent a small and dynamic subgroup, yet their presence and impact often remain unknown within the greater profession. At ForwardFocus, I am eager to introduce other community college librarians to tribal community colleges as we learn from one another.


"I don’t understand why you need offices. Don’t you just check out books to students all day?"

Libraries are changing, and so are librarians. It's not always easy to describe what kind of space you need, or what kind of physical and intellectual work will happen in that space. One thing is clear, however, the architects designing your space have a very limited, and often wrong, idea about what a library is, and how students, faculty and librarians use it. After countless meeting and questionnaires, the library at STCC received several versions of floor plans for our new library. Every one of these plans had key pieces missing: space for stacks, staff offices, reference area, circulation desk, group study rooms, etc. While describing library functions and needs can be challenging, one thing is for certain; your library staff will emerge with a much better understanding of what they do, how they do it, and how changing resources and technologies can shape the library space of the future.

The panel will be recorded and played at the virtual conference.  Panelist will be at the virtual conference at answer questions from virtual attendees.