Odegaard Undergraduate Library and Learning Commons – a set on Flickr

Odegaard Undergraduate Library and Learning Commons – a set on Flickr.

I last visited the Odegaard Library in 2000, and it is interesting to see the changes in 10 years. 10 years ago they had just moved the reference stacks to the second floor and created a large open computer lab, which they were calling a “learning commons” or maybe even the Collaboratory! What a concept. As I recall the main floor still had some book stacks. At the time the culling of the reference collection had been fairly traumatic (this was the impression I got from the staff).

I’m back at the University of Washington and I walked around the Odegaard Library last night. The place was packed! All the books are gone from the first and second levels, you have to get up to the third floor (the “quiet” floor) to find any books at all. The only current periodicals I saw were on the main floor, and just newsy kinds of things. They have about 1/4 iMacs living with the PCs. Dozens of group rooms, almost all occupied with students busily working away. You are greeted on the main floor with an Information / Circulation kiosk, and on the 2nd floor there is a desk with two staff, one side with a “librarian” and the other side “technical help”. In the 20 minutes I was walking around I didn’t see anyone actuallly ask for any help on the 2nd floor.

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About Karen Keiller

I am the University Librarian at Lakehead University.
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