University Library Guiding Principles for the Learning Commons in the Undergraduate Library

Campus Strategic Theme #4:

‘Reinvent the mission of the land-grant university to address 21st century needs’

The Learning Commons provides a fertile test bed to experiment with new methods of connecting students and faculty with cutting edge research and technology.  Through new concepts and implementations of educational programs and technology, the campus community will discover new ways to change and improve the way information is discovered, organized, and utilized in scholarship.   As the Library collaborates on the design of the Commons, we have the following guiding principles in mind:

  • Draft Library Mission Statement (from draft Library strategic plan): The University Library is central to the intellectual life of the University.  It enhances the University’s activities that create knowledge, prepares students for lives of impact, and addresses critical societal needs by ensuring access to and integration of information, knowledge creation, and learning while providing a network of expertise that ensures value, quality, and authenticity of information resources.
  • The Library provides unmediated access to information resources, and it places a high value on user independence and confidentiality in the use of information resources.
  • The UGL must be able to retain its integral relationship to the rest of the Library’s technical infrastructure that supports software and other service innovation. The Undergraduate Library serves many types of users, and some of its services are used more heavily by graduate students and faculty than they are by undergraduates (e.g., .media collection and services). The UGL will continue to play an important outreach role with the broader UIUC community, and the Learning Commons will become a part of UGL’s service programs. Services provided in the Learning Commons must be geared to the overall population. Further, the Undergraduate Library needs to be able to maintain a dynamic involvement with the scholarly community that educates and supports the undergraduate population at UIUC.
  • As part of the Learning Commons, the Undergraduate Library intends to partner with other colleges and units (e.g., LAS, Education, and the Writing Center) to provide access to applications for undergraduates from these colleges. This collaboration will become increasingly critical to the success of the Learning Commons as the Library builds the Scholarly Commons. We intend to develop linkages (both programmatic and technical) between services aimed at entry-level learners in the Learning Commons, and those geared toward more advanced scholars in the Scholarly Commons. It follows that the Learning Commons technical environment must be set up from the beginning to easily accommodate these partnerships.

(drafted March 8 2006 for Learning Commons conversations)