"If you can design the physical space, the social space, and the information space all together to enhance collaborative learning, then that whole milieu turns into a learning technology and people just love working there and they start learning with and from each other."
– John Seely Brown
Award-winning learning spaces demonstrate our commitment to responding to the needs of our patrons. We have learned through research and practice that our students need to be able to create, retrieve, combine, display, and share information, all in well-supported spaces that they can easily reconfigure.
The Terrace, visible from the Silent Reading Room is a new library outdoor space opened in Fall 2011. It has quickly become a favorite spot for students. With 54 seats and ample power outlets, students enjoy a chance to get outside to study and work with a view of the campus brickyard.
The Terrace was featured in the American Libraries' Design Showcase 2012 as an outstanding outdoor library design.
The NCSU Libraries has earned an international reputation as a technology incubator. The Technology Sandbox serves as a test bed and showcase for large-scale display and gesture-based computing technologies that will revolutionize the visual display of data and the creation of digital media.
The innovative equipment in the Libraries showcases technologies you can expect in the James B. Hunt Jr. Library (opening on Centennial Campus in 2013), where technology immersion in inspirational spaces will be the norm throughout the building.
The Technology Sandbox was featured in the American Libraries' Design Showcase 2012 for collaborative learning spaces.
Tools and Help to Support Cutting Edge Coursework
The Libraries provides tools for creating and editing digital media, including audio and video production, and document and image scanning in the Digital Media Lab. Experts are available for scheduled consultations and quick help during the Libraries’ peak hours. Workshops to introduce hardware and software for digital media projects are also offered in this space.
The Library of the Future
Everything you can imagine...and more. The James B. Hunt Jr. Library will be a beautiful and inspiring "signature" building that embodies the essence of Centennial Campus as a community built around knowledge. This iconic building will be a vibrant intellectual and social forum for the campus community, showcasing the latest technologies and research achievements of the university. In the design of this landmark building, NC State seeks nothing less than to create the best learning and collaborative space in the country.
New, modern spaces designed with an emphasis on comfort, attractive views, and a feeling of “getting away from it all” provide much-needed retreats for students. The “Living Room,” tucked away from busier areas has some of the most comfortable seating on campus and offers students a place to kick their feet up to relax or work. There is a great view of Hillsborough Street, and of course plenty of power outlets and moveable furniture.
The ConeZone is a bright, colorful café space next door to the Creamery which serves campus-made, locally-sourced Howling Cow ice cream. This casual area invites informal group meet-ups and is great for study breaks.
Walking through the Libraries, you will see mathematical and scientific models, flow charts, and concept maps. Students love whiteboards... for brainstorming, for prototyping, and for general group work. The Libraries has dozens of whiteboards that can be used anywhere students need to visualize and share their work.
To create more space for quiet, individual study, we have closed off a great naturally-lit room across from the Creamery. In the Silent Reading Room, the emphasis is on serious study. It is designed with comfortable work spaces and plenty of power outlets. The huge glass wall down the room’s south side gives a great view of the Terrace and the Brickyard.
The Silent Reading Room was featured in the American Libraries' Design Showcase 2012 for technology enabled space.
Help – Wherever, Whenever
The Libraries continually explores new ways to interact with patrons. More and more patrons are using the 24/7 "Ask Us" chat service for real-time help from a librarian. One of the Libraries’ major initiatives is optimizing mobile services. Students can reserve rooms, check on computer availability and check the line for the coffee shop from their mobile devices.
The Libraries strives to create beautiful spaces that showcase unique objects, art, collections, and furniture. With the renovation of the main floor of D. H. Hill Library in 2007, the conservatory was added to create an iconic visual experience that can be seen from outside the building as well. The Conservatory showcases the stunning astral bench resting on an oriental rug and a dichroic glass sculpture, created by artist Joy Wulke and commissioned for this space. This is one of many areas that offer a comfortable, attractive environment for contemplative study or quiet breaks.
All Libraries spaces are equipped for student computing with ample power outlets, high-speed networking, wi-fi, and configurable workspaces. There are 475 public computers available to students including Mac and PC desktop computers and a technology lending program that makes laptops, iPads, and other computing devices available for student use. During a regular academic semester, students log in to Library computers more than 11,000 times, and checkout devices typically more than 6,000 times per week.
Seating in the Libraries is in high demand. We work hard to make the most of any available space for student study and collaboration. By creatively retrofitting existing spaces the Libraries adds much needed seating. In a hallway off the first floor Learning Commons, adding a custom banquette provided seating for an additional 38 students. The new James B. Hunt Jr. Library (opening on Centennial Campus in 2013) will double available seating space and open new opportunities for creative learning spaces.
Emphasis on Design
The beautiful furniture and other appointments in the Learning Commons are modern, artful, and highly functional pieces. A selection of soft seating options features classic designs. On a campus that boasts a world-class College of Design, students take pride in the high quality and sleek design features of Libraries’ spaces.
Tradition Meets the Modern Library
The Special Collections Reading Room is a favorite space for quiet, individual study. It has a warm, traditional design with plenty of table space and task lighting. Bookshelves line the room and display faculty publications and art pieces from North Carolina potters. The space is adjacent to the Libraries’ Exhibition Gallery and houses the service desk for the Special Collections Research Center.
The Creamery, in the D. H. Hill Library West Wing is an ice cream shop serving Howling Cow ice cream made at NC State’s own dairy. Open year-round, with an outdoor walk-up window open during the summer, the Creamery and the adjacent Cone Zone offer students a popular way to kick-off a group study session or treat themselves for a job well done.
A group of retro “ball chairs” provides a way to squeeze more useful, comfortable seating into current spaces. The ball chairs were originally designed in 1963 and quickly earned a reputation for being incredibly tough and innovative. The ball chair is designed to be a room within a room, providing a private space for the user.
There are many spots in the Libraries where a student can spread out in an open area and enjoy their work with beautiful views, natural light and quick access to food and drink.
We get it—students need fortification and study breaks without leaving the library. The Hill of Beans Coffee Bar is open until 1:00 a.m. most nights so that students don’t have to venture out to get coffee, soda, or snacks. It also offers an attractive seating area near the library entrance that is an ideal place for groups to meet before study sessions.
Not all learning occurs in the classroom. Often it happens spontaneously when students put their heads together and solve a problem.
Collaboration by design
Group work involves developing and sharing ideas. The Libraries' group study rooms are equipped with a range of technologies and collaboration tools that students can use to flesh out ideas on the spot, in ways they may not have imagined.
Reservable study rooms
The D. H. Hill Library offers group study rooms on nearly every floor that are reservable around the clock. The new James B. Hunt Jr. Library on Centennial Campus will offer 100 reservable spaces for group learning. Group study spaces are equipped with computer connections, multiple display-switching capabilities and writable walls or movable whiteboards.
The video and audio production studio in the Libraries gives students access to the latest digital media technologies.
Open 24 hours Monday through Friday and late hours on weekends, the Libraries quickly becomes a second campus home to many students.
The heart of campus
At the foot of the library, the Brickyard is a hub for activities like the weekly NC State Farmer’s Market, the annual “Shack-a-thon,” a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser (pictured above) as well as special events such as hosting the Stanley Cup after the Carolina Hurricanes win. Its position on campus makes D. H. Hill Library a convenient center for scholarly work.
Students stop to check email or course assignments at way stations like this highway bench located just outside the technology sandbox and along a major walkway between the Learning Commons and the Living Room, a popular quiet study area.
Modern design--with contemporary furniture and finishes, clean lines, and the best views -- is something our students have come to expect from the Libraries' spaces. Students want to spend time in spaces where they can find something unique and maybe a little unexpected.