Saturday, June 20, 2009

PBL Symposium (Part 7): Republic Polytechnic library

[From Part 6]

Day 3, Jun 12, 2009.

During the break, one of the RP librarian, Sharen, was kind enough to give me a tour of their library.

It was my first visit.

Their library opened in 2006; here's a LAS blog article on RP library's architecture and design philosophy.

My first impression: RP Library has lots of space! Very nice. Reminded me of the Bibliothèque de Charlesbourg (Charlesbourg Public Library), which I visited at the IFLA conference last year.
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Most students were away for their term break, so the library was less crowded than normal.

Instead of photocopier machines, they provide scanners (they do have photocopiers on campus, but one can imagine a scanner would be much more used in line with RP's paperless campus concept).
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

There's a Games Room. Computer games could be borrowed and played in the room (overdue fees would be imposed it they returned the games late). RP offers a diploma in Games Design, btw. But I don't think you'd have to be taking that diploma to utilise this RP library service :)
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09) Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09) Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)


I already said their library is spacious, didn't I?
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)


At one point, my tour guide pulled open what seemed to be a recessed door in a wall, and revealed board games that students can borrow.
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

The grey-coloured panels pictured below could be swung open, to create private spaces. The picture below shows the "open" configuration.
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

A book-bin next to the book shelf.
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

This area served as an exhibition space. Very cozy. There's a piano and guitar at the far end. Students were encouraged to play and lounge there.
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

During the tour, someone was playing a song on the piano. It was quite loud and you could hear it downstairs. But it wasn't unpleasant. :)
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Here's another wing of the library.
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

More study and discussion spaces. I can appreciate why lots of spaces are needed, since RP practices its unique "One Day One Problem" PBL programme. Students have to work in teams as part of their course work.
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)


Up another level and we were at the Student Career Centre.
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)


The view from upstairs.
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Here's a closer shot of their programme zone, at their south entrance. They'd hold talks and library programmes there, and those walking outside would be able to see what's going on as well.
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

I'm impressed.

I didn't really ask about their collection size or digital collection policies. Was just enjoying the atmosphere of the library.

One would think this was a public library and not an academic library. In fact, RP has a unique policy of allowing members of the public to use their facilitaties and collections (although to borrow the materials, you'd have to be a member).

I asked if that posed problems to students and staff. Answer was no.

Quite innovative of RP Library to adopt that sort of policy, imho. I can imagine potential RP students using the library, being familiar with the campus. Which is a way to publicise the courses and services to future students.

I walked away wishing one of our public library could look like this. Who knows? :)

BTW, the RP Library has a blog at weblog.rp.sg.

(Twitter hashtag #pbl09w)

[Next: Part 8]

2 comments:

  1. wow... I was there and felt likewise. You captured many good details from your observations. I liked the idea of how they mean 'paperles' with the scanner in place of the photocopier. I was in the library doing some work and felt that the whole atmosphere was of trust. The libary was designed not only as a physical space but incoporated many elements of how I think they trust the students, and even the public on thoughtful use of their resources.

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  2. Hi John, you said it well! Yes, I think the RP Library encapsulated 'Trust' in its design and operational plans. Which is pretty innovative.

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