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Active Listening Leads to Action: Communication and Partners in the Learning Commons




Farrell, Bridget


Academic libraries with learning commons host a wider variety of student services than ever before. In addition to traditional research help, students come to learning commons for technology support, academic advising, writing assistance, and tutoring. The variety and number of services provided in learning commons would be impossible if not for successful partnerships with other campus units. To keep learning commons operating effectively, it is vital that libraries and partners keep channels of communication open. However, this is easier said than done. Though libraries and partners may be housed in the same building, their physical proximity does not necessarily ensure that employees from the different groups are communicating effectively. Five years after the creation of a learning commons, librarians at one research university held interviews with representatives from the eight partner organizations housed in the library's learning commons to explore perceptions of communication between the library and its partners. During these interviews several lapses in communication came to light--some partners were not included in e-mails about the building, the library was not kept abreast of changes in partners services. Awareness of these gaps allowed the library to renew its efforts to connect with each of its partners. This poster shares feedback collected from Auburn University Libraries' partners and details what changes were enacted to improve communication, including the naming of a partners liaison and the development of a web portal that has been used to share information between the different units.