Zhu's students research, design
improvements for Evans library


Students in a social and behavioral design class at Texas A&M displayed their research-based renovation plans for the first floor of Evans library during a Nov. 3 mid-semester review.
Led by Xuemei Zhu, assistant professor of architecture, students selected a portion of the first floor, such as Poor Yorick's Café, a study area opposite the building's entrance or the building's entry area, for their projects.

Their recommendations are contributions to "Reimagine the Library," a Texas A&M University Libraries plan to redesign the building's first floor.

Students displayed the results of their research and redesign work to library personnel in a conference room on the Evans library's second floor.

Lianne Bitters and Paola Gomez chose to redesign the study area farthest from the building's entrance.

"We plan to knock down half the southern wall to create an outdoor seating area with doors opening into the space," they wrote in their review poster. "The added windows will bring more light into the space, but more importantly, it will allow users to have easy access to the rest of the campus."

Mark Richardson submitted a redesign for Poor Yorick's Café.

"There's always a line that extends out the door, dividing the space within as well as impeding traffic outside," he wrote in his research poster. "The interior space feels cramped and noisy."

In his redesign, Richardson calls for the removal of Poor Yorick's existing back wall, and an extension of the café into an area of Evans that currently, he said, is occupied by only a few bookshelves.

Richardson also addresses the café's crowding by shifting patrons' entry  away from the café's center to an area closer to the library's main entrance, adding a second entrance at the back of the café from the library and a to-go window north of its main seating and study area.

Grace Koy and Ky Coffman used observational and interactive methods to answer their research question: "Does the Current Environment of the First Floor of Evans Library Meet Student Behavioral Needs?

Based on their research findings, they recommended the library add more accessible electrical outlets, more individual study desks, and partition walls to create more refuge spaces, among other improvements.

Ben Jensen and Zach Morris, researched the library's wayfinding systems.

"Our findings showed that people do not really pay attention to the signage," they wrote in their review poster. "When we watched people walk into Evans we notice they usually stop in the big study room to the right just as they walk in."

They concluded the library's main help desk was the building's most popular wayfinding system.

"It's the first contact people have with the building's inside and people seem to prefer that others tell them exactly where to go to find something rather than possibly waste time getting lost or looking for things."

Jessica Corell and Reid Gould asked "How Are Students Actually Using Zone G and How Can It be Better Adapted to Accommodate Their Needs?"

Through observation and interviews, they made the following recommendations.

"The zone's 10-foot tables are an inefficient use of space, and we suggest catering to individual study by using smaller, more private tables," they wrote in their research poster.

They also recommended closing the area's doors and making it a quiet area, making sure every table has an electric outlet for laptops, removing bookshelves in the darkest part of the space and designating it a nap area.


- Posted: Nov. 23, 2009-

- the end -


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