For English professor Shelley King, it’s rare that she gets to see “a ghost or glimmer of an idea actually being enacted” at Queen’s. This changed for her on Tuesday with the unveiling of the first campus Library Information Network at Queen’s (LINQ) Library in Watson Hall.
Located on the main floor of the building, the LINQ Library space features two separate rooms with natural lighting and glass walls. The first room incorporates comfortable seating with space for students to collaborate on assignments, several independent study cubicles and a virtual display of library resources.
Room two features a large study table, seating for approximately 10 students and a large whiteboard to be booked for use by students through the University Library.
Approved in 2013, the space in Watson Hall is in accordance with the Library and Archives Master Plan (LAMP) project, which aims to “develop a network of inviting places for study, interactive learning and innovation, distributed in various key locations across campus and linked to information services and resources.” It was made possible through the contributions of the Joseph S. Stauffer Foundation.
In her opening remarks before the unveiling, Vice Provost (Digital Planning) and University Librarian Martha Whitehead expressed her thoughts on the project. “We are impressed with how students express their appreciation for library spaces,” she said.
“The motivation behind the plan was thinking about teaching and learning and research in this digital era, and with that, also information resources,” Whitehead told The Journal in an interview after the unveiling.
Shelley King, an English professor and collaborator on the LAMP project, expressed that the department had chosen to surrender the space following the closing of the Disraeli Project in 2015, which had used it as an occupational site.
She believes the space will serve as a place for students to speak to their Teaching Assistants and professors, hold meetings, as well as work in a collaborative setting.
“We had the opportunity to do some renovation on the building,” King said. “We want Watson to be a destination for students to come to study.”
Throughout the early stages of the LINQ project, Whitehead and King agreed they faced the challenge of getting funding. While departments were unable to provide the funds and the faculty was unwilling to commit early on, LINQ turned to a donation on behalf of the Joseph S. Stauffer Foundation.
For LINQ to grow further across campus and faculties, Whitehead predicted that funding would continue to be a major point of discussion. “We’re already spoken to another faculty that’s interested,” she said. “But we have to work this into our funding.”
“I wouldn’t say we aren’t optimistic about getting funding for larger projects,” Whitehead added. “People love libraries and we’re working on getting advancement on that.”
She hopes to see the LINQ program grow across campus in spaces that are currently out-of-touch with the needs of the student body. For Whitehead and King, the space is both a major achievement for the LAMP project and a stepping-stone for the creation of more innovative study spaces on campus.
“It’s really heartening to see what you can do in a project where you hear lots of good ideas, and are working continuously in those collaborative environments,” Whitehead said.
innovation, Library, LINQ, study space, Watson Hall
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