The Library of the Rolex Learning Center : considered as the «best place to be» on the Campus @ EPFL.

The Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne is a science and technology university building its « Rolex Learning Center », which will be inaugurated in 2010. Point of entry to EPFL, the Rolex Learning Center (RLC) will be a place where people canl learn, obtain information, and live. The RLC is built as a huge modern academic library, multifunctional, i.e. with shops, restaurants, conference room, students facilities, and many other facilities and services. It will of course, house both paper and electronic collections of documents, information desks and loan services like in any Information Commons of today. Nowadays, it seems that when considering the construction of a new academic library or the renovation of an existing building, one must try to reach this kind of critical mass of services and activities, otherwise crowds will never come. It can be explained by what is sometines called the « cafeteria effect » : a place allowing exchange, discussion, collaborative work, socialization among faculty and students. This is what people are looking for. It is therefore necessary, as librarians, to think deeply about the embedding of such contradictory and complementary functions into and around our information spaces. Drinks, food, comfort, long opening hours, plenty of working places - silent or noisy - are a must in such a library. Equally necessary are digital and printing facilities, wireless and wired internet acess, and open stacks for books, which can be automatically borrowed via selfcheck stations. Then add a pinch of relaxing and social activities, such as a bookshop, students associations offices, or cultural activities, etc. Put in the middle of your building a library desk animated by librarians able to give help on any subject or fix any problem, and you’ve got it: a library of the 21st century. This presentation will analyse the EPFL environment, the concept of the RLC and the steps which underpin its construction, from the point of view of the Head Librarian. I hope to share with the audience, some of the thoughs and findings that emerged during this unique experience, and reflect the transformation of our mission.

Presented at:
Liber 2009 annual general conference, Toulouse, France, June 30-July 3 2009

 Record created 2009-07-03, last modified 2018-03-17

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