RE: Designing the ideal library media center

Hornbeck, Patty (
Thu, 6 Dec 2001 11:08:28 -0800 (PST)


This is a great topic for me because Middlebury College is in the process of
constructing a new library that will be completed in 2003. At that time,
Media Services, and our approximately 7,000 item film/video collection, will
move to the new space.

Over the last two or three years, the library committee has spent countless
hours with the same questions you ask below, initially believing that
head-end video transmission was the way to go, and eventually rejecting it
in favor of traditional carrels. Centralized serving requires extensive
wiring, not to mention staffing, and it sacrifices -- to some degree -- a
flexible configuration. Of the top five things _we_ wanted at Middlebury,
flexibility headed the list. Accessibility, security, spaces that allow
exchange and collaboration between students, or between students and
faculty, were important considerations as well.

The committee visited a number of sites during the planning process, and
liked, among others, Wellesley College's new facility.

Good luck with your survey. I hope that you will share with us any good
ideas or insights that do not come addressed to the group as a whole.

Patricia Hornbeck
Middlebury College
Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury, VT 05753

(802)443-2268 phone
(802)443-2075 fax

> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Horvath []
> Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2001 12:25 PM
> To: Multiple recipients of list
> Subject: Designing the ideal library media center
> Here's a chance to mention those great features in your own media center
> is or perhaps to shout out for a facility that you know about where you
> wish you worked! The University of Louisville is in the process of
> renovating our existing undergraduate ("main") library which will include
> a sizeable addition. Our media department will have completely renovated
> space, likely in the new wing.
> Many of you have gone through similar process or maybe going through one
> now. I know it is impossible to guess where the cutting edge becomes the
> bleeding edge with such plans, but I would be very interested in a wish
> list based on the wealth of wisdom and experience found on this list.
> In terms of our own situation, we have a moderately sized collection of
> videos (2500 VHS and DVD). Currently they circulate to faculty, staff and
> grad students (undergraduate with permission). Our collection is
> primarily documentary with few feature films relating to curriculum. We
> have some audio tape, primarily spoken word (poetry but no recorded
> books). We also house the library's CD and DVD ROM collections
> (standalone titles and government publications, not music). We do no
> production or media or equipment distribution/scheduling. We maintain
> viewing carrels and viewing rooms. We currently have open stacks but are
> open to another model.
> 1. What are the top five things you would want if you could start from
> scratch to set up a university library media facility?
> 2. Where are the media facilities and collections that we should know
> about (or visit) for examples of "the way to go..."?
> 3. Should we be assuming that in ten years we'll be seeing a practical
> (digital) method of centralized serving for video/media throughout the
> university network? If that seems likely, should we continue to
> concentrate for now on high quality local distribution, traditional
> carrels and viewing rooms and a flexible (not permament) layout and
> design?
> Any other comments or suggestions would be more than welcome. Thanks in
> advance for your time and thought. You can respond to the list or to me
> personally.
> Best Wishes