2012/13 was a year of growth and reflection for the Learning Commons. It transited to 7x24 operation in phases, went through an assessment to evaluate services, supported the heart-warming exam-week Snack Breaks, and became a popular spot that many university units proudly show to visitors.
The Learning Commons, being an integral part of the Library, was designed with the ability to provide service when the Library is closed.
However, operating 7x24 is not as simple as keeping the doors open. The Library moved there in phases: from 22 hours daily in late 2012; then we managed to extend to 24 hours with no increase in human resources. In Spring 2013, it opened 7x24 from March to May.
On average, over 200 people use the LC at midnight and over 100 at 3am; in May, the highest counts were 418 at midnight, 247 at 3am, and 108 at 6am. Staying open during public holidays was also very well-received by the university community.
A key project this year was assessment. Three student focus groups, one student survey and one service partner survey were conducted in the Spring semester. This was very successful – helping us learn about your needs, find out what was done right, and what can be improved. 90% rated the Learning Commons as "Important" or "Very important", showing that the Learning Commons has become a primary study space for students. We also found the LC is too small and crowded to meet user demand. Such findings will drive future planning of study space towards a similar friendly, social and supportive style.
The Library also offered ten Snack Breaks during exam weeks last year. Sponsored by SAO and designed to lighten the study atmosphere, we shared snacks and drinks with about 300 students each night.
The Learning Commons has drawn a lot of interest among university guests. It has become one of the most popular stopping points for university visitors. Since opening the LC, the number of Library tours increased over 350%, and the number of visitors increased over 500%.