Stevenson University’s new academic center on Owings Mills North has a wide variety of resources, including the third branch of the Stevenson University library, the Learning Commons.
Located on the third floor of the Manning Academic Center, the Learning Commons includes four study rooms, one computer lab, study tables, study nooks, lounge area and an eating area with vending machines. The Learning Commons space is available to all students, faculty and staff.
According to Rebecca Pad, public services librarian, an observational study originating at existing library locations determined how students most used the space – whether students were using the collections of books, utilizing school computers, working on laptops, studying alone, collaborating in groups or simply socializing. From this study, the university determined how the new library should be established and how the space should be used.
STUDY SPACES AND RESOURCES
The idea behind the Learning Commons was to create a new space for students on the Owings Mills North campus “that emphasizes group work and collaboration…where students feel comfortable being loud and noisy,” said Elizabeth Fields, research and instruction librarian. To help encourage group work, the Learning Commons has plenty of study rooms. Fields explained that each study room is set up uniquely with different types of furniture providing students with a variety of choices that best fit their needs.
One study room, for instance, is dedicated to providing space for those practicing speeches and presentations. This room is equipped with a podium and several chairs that allow students a real-world practice space.
Like the other Stevenson libraries, all study rooms can be reserved to ensure students have a space when needed. Additionally, one feature that makes the Learning Commons unique is its flexible furniture. The mobile furniture gives students the capability to refigure the furniture to meet specific study plans.
The new library space offers a variety of resources, according to Pad. While the Learning Commons does not have books on hand, they can be requested and mailed to the Owings Mills North space. The Learning Commons also accepts book returns, even if books have been checked out at one of the other libraries. Like the other Stevenson libraries, the Learning Commons has librarians on staff who can assist students as needed. Also available is the ability to check out laptops and calculators.
The Learning Commons aims to become a “place where students can explore ideas and learn,” said Pad. According to Pad, the hope is to make the Learning Commons a central hub for students in the building.