I chose to observe & take notes of the upper elementary (UE) lunchtime in the Central Library as part of my daily routine. This time also clashes with secondary class scheduling, so there are multiple users and for different purposes using the space during this 30 minutes.
My usual routine is to do the ‘circuit’ of the space, and really the monitoring is for number crunching (for data purposes – always 50+), and usually to also gently monitor noise levels. I am very conscious of ‘noise’ levels in our library because of the multiple use happening simultaneously e.g. a teacher giving a middle school lesson while our UE students are enjoying the library as their recreational space. Must admit, I found this immersion stage of merely listening and observing mode quite difficult – my usual responses to students started kicking in e.g. the need to quieten the space for one. As Brown and Katz (2011, 382) acknowledge, this takes some practice.
The library space is air conditioned and sometimes it can be quite cool. I observe students (years 3 – 8) use the library space for reading, games (including board & card, colouring, origami etc.) and gaming, individual study or reading, tutoring, group study, group/friendship relaxation & chat, or class/teacher led-directed sessions. The lighting is suitable (halogen, I think). I wish we had some stand alone lamps to set more of a mood for quiet reading spots.
I empathise with students who are reading and have a group of chattering students at a table near them. They still manage to immerse themselves in the world of their book. The music we have started playing has added to mood in the library (I can barely hear it from the bottom area due to the noise levels). A couple of students in a class working at the tables when I asked, replied how they found the music calming (I didn’t get a chance to ask the teacher unfortunately). I really note the red ‘hot spots’ in the library (on the sketch) where students are ‘hanging’ – sitting, lounging or even working with their laptops – including floor areas which are hidden or private nooks.
Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2011). Change by design. Journal Of Product Innovation Management, 28(3), 381-383.doi:10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00806.x
McIntosh, E. (2014). How to come up with great ideas (ebook). Edinburgh: NoTosh Publishing [ebook].
Feedback commentary links:
Taylor’s blog: Really enjoyed this. When reflecting my major thought was of ‘space’ itself and how people fill them can actually affect design and the users’ perspectives and understandings.
Kath’s blog. Kath commented about a local supermarket. After reading Taylor’s blog, and then an article about supermarkets (that I had serendipitally come across) – I just connected!
Jen’s blog about the entrance to her school. Design thinking definitely not in action