Research in the library

Bellevue College’s Research, Innovation, Service and Experiential Institute, RISE, and the Library Media Center are collaborating to bring students a new environment in which to study.

The area being considered for this is a little known place near the back of the library where students are allowed and encouraged to communicate. It is marked as a green zone, while the rest of the library is either yellow, or like most of the second floor, red, which means silent study only. The only other places in the library available for student communication and collaboration are the study rooms.

“In our study rooms, with the exception of media viewing rooms, we have gone to first come first serve because that maximizes their use,” said BC librarian David Oar. “It would be nice if you could talk and feel even more confident that you weren’t disturbing others,” said Oar.

On Monday, Oct. 26, there were two open discussions where students were encouraged to come by and share their ideas for the space. The discussions were led by Vivian McLendon, dean of the Library Media Center.

“What might make the space more attractive or functional?” asked Oar. Students were asked for their current opinions on the space, and shared ideas for how it could become more functional, more attractive to students and more welcoming.

Dr. Gita Bangera, BC’s dean of Undergraduate Research, is developing BC’s RISE Institute and working closely with the LMC to design this new space. Bangera wants the space to also bring visibility to RISE as a resource for students, and thinks that a collaboration space where students can work on projects will allow other students to observe the process and potentially be inspired to start their own.

“For over a year, maybe two years, we’ve been trying to encourage students to collaborate in that area,” said Rebecca Turnbull, a librarian at the LMC. She said that she and the other librarians have tried to get students to talk to one another and feel like they could talk there.

Turnbull also mentioned that many students are unaware that they can rent tablets or laptops for use in the library, which might encourage them to use the collaborative space since it has no desktop computers nearby. She hopes the collaboration with the RISE institute will “make it a more active and energized space.”

Currently, there are discussions being held over whether or not this new space, once completed, will be able to be reserved, as it is supposed to be an open area. Bangera plans to hold a journal club meeting in the collaborative space. Journal club is an activity she does for the students in her Lab Methods in Research class, during which her students will discuss, analyze and criticize an article selected from a scientific journal. The class does this weekly in an interactive student-led discussion.

“It’s a really nice social thing,” said Bangera. “It really does create this feeling that they all belong into this community.”