I recently attended The 7th Annual Canadian Learning Commons Conference, June 9-11, 2014, Hosted by Bishop’s University at the Delta Hotel Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec. It was an excellent conference, the first time I had attended. Excellent keynote speakers, and it was delightful to have them stick around for the whole conference!
My presentation was an attempt to explain disappointing LibQual results after moving into a new Learning Commons.
Cognitive dissonance is the psychological conflict from holding two or more incompatible beliefs simultaneously. In 2011 University of New Brunswick Saint John moved all library services from the Ward Chipman Library to the newly constructed Hans W. Klohn Learning Commons, with fifty percent more seating capacity. The beautiful building features a two-story glass front with fretted glass representing pixilating trees. Designed for collaborative learning, it has nine group study rooms, plenty of open space, comfortable seating, a cafe and a collaborative classroom. Services include the writing centre, math and science tutoring and traditional library and technology support services. It is also the campus “library”, with book on shelves, study carrells and a quiet reading room. In the 2013 LibQual study we received a failing grade for “library as space”. Despite the negative score and remarks, the Commons is very popular, with every seat being used most of the day. Cognitive dissonance theory will be used to explain this apparent paradox and we’ll explore how to make the transition to new learning spaces more harmonic.