Spiezle Hosts Higher Education Library Think Tank

In mid-August, Spiezle hosted a think tank event to discuss the role and importance of the library in the context of the ever-changing collegiate campus environment. The event, which was held at the Penn State University Great Valley Campus, was attended by library professionals, facility staff, and other higher education professionals from universities and colleges from across the region.

“We are noticing the need for a critical shift in the role of the collegiate library,” Bob Reid, Associate Principal at Spiezle said. “We structured the event to create a highly interactive environment to encourage attendees to dream about what libraries can become.”

The event began with a brief history of libraries and how they have changed over time, followed by thought-provoking questions about the role and feel of the library. The conversation continued with video testimonials from college students on how they use, or don’t use, the library in order to provide the attendees with a different perspective. The event also featured an interactive polling session and multiple breakout sessions to discuss the challenges that libraries face, how to make libraries more relevant, and how to successfully plan and implement changes and improvements to library spaces.

“We had very different perspectives represented in the group, but we were all able to discuss the common goal of trying to improve how the library can contribute to a University’s mission,” Dr. Danuta Nitecki, Dean of Libraries and Professor of Information Science at Drexel University said about the event.

After each break-out session, the group reconvened to share their findings and discuss their thoughts together, allowing for in-depth discussions on how to bring change to collegiate libraries.

“This event allowed people from diverse backgrounds to come together and hear each other’s unique viewpoints,” John Wright, Associate Principal at Spiezle said. “By breaking out into small groups, we were able to tackle specific questions and drivers affecting each institution. Then, by bringing everyone back together, we were able to focus the discussion on potential solutions and opportunities to grow libraries in the future.”

The event concluded with a tour of Penn State University Great Valley’s Learning Commons, allowing attendees to get a first-hand look at ways library spaces are changing.

“I’ve never been to anything like this before,” said Robert Lackie, Professor-Librarian and Department Chairperson at Rider University. “It was all about sharing ideas that are going to help us improve our libraries in the future. I gained a lot of ideas from the meeting that I’ll be able to bring back with me.”

“I’m very grateful that Spiezle offered this event,” he added. “I’m hoping that there will be another event like this in the future.”

Spiezle is planning on hosting another Library Think Tank in the future and has set up a LinkedIn group that anyone can join to gain ideas and perspectives about collegiate libraries.

For more information about this event or to be invited to future events, please contact Deidre Cibelli, Marketing Director at Spiezle.

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