Library Renewal Planning

Since Spring 2010, LTS staff have been engaged in planning for renewal of study and service spaces in the Goldfarb and Farber Libraries. To date, this planning effort has taken place in two stages.

Stage 1. Goldfarb Library Information Commons Needs Assessment (Spring 2010)

In Spring 2010, as the Goldfarb Library’s first floor Information Commons neared its 5th anniversary, Library & Technology Services conducted an ethnographic study that assessed Brandeis community members’ use of the Information Commons as well as their needs for learning spaces and support services. Despite LTS staff reductions in January 2009, annual survey research indicates that the community remains broadly satisfied with LTS services. The Goldfarb Library Information Commons Needs Assessment study complements these research efforts.

The study’s final report provides specific insights to guide ongoing improvements to library spaces and services.  LTS engaged a trained ethnographic researcher to lead the study and three LTS staff members participated extensively in the study’s research and analysis. The study used a variety of ethnographic methods, including interviews, focus groups, observations, and public flip chart questions.

Stage 2. Goldfarb Library Information Commons Renewal Planning (Fall 2010)

In September 2010, Library and Technology Services began planning for renewal of the Goldfarb-Farber Library, beginning with the Information Commons on the first floor of Goldfarb Library. This planning process sought to consider Goldfarb Library’s level one entry floor in the context of the Spring 2010 Goldfarb Library Information Commons Needs Assessment study, academic library building trends and best practices, and the University's particular needs.  Throughout the 2010 fall semester, a 14-member Information Commons Renewal Work Group collected information,  gathered input from the Brandeis community, and engaged in deliberation.

Consideration of library facility requirements for the current Brandeis community is warranted. Library capacity was last addressed with the 1982 building of Farber Library. Since the building of Farber, library physical collections have increased by more than 50% and the faculty and student user population has grown by closer to 60%. Further pressure on space has come from the addition of several tenants in the Goldfarb facility and the loss of the entry floor of the Gerstenzang facility. In addition, the nature of library space is evolving from an emphasis on book warehousing to one of community gathering and learning space and the production of new knowledge with sophisticated technologies.

Findings from this process, provided in the planning team's final report, will inform forthcoming plans for library renewal.