THE LI­BRARY AS A THIRD PLACE CON­STRUCT: THE CASE OF THE UNI­VER­SITY OF THE PHILIP­PINES BAGUIO LI­BRARY

Cristina B. Villanueva

PLAI Congress 2018 Program - - PARALLEL SESSION -

Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines Baguio Email ad­dress: [email protected] Ab­stract

My pa­per is a nar­ra­tive of how, in my two years and eight months stay as the OIC Uni­ver­sity Li­brar­ian, the Li­brary was trans­formed into a hub of study, re­search, and col­lab­o­ra­tion. How, de­spite the drop in en­rol­ment brought about by the gov­ern­ment’s K-12 pro­gram, the Li­brary man­aged to in­crease stu­dent read­er­ship in 2015 to 2016.

A re­view of the li­brary an­nual re­ports of 2010 to 2014, showed a down­ward trend in statis­tics, both in terms of use of re­sources and ad­mit­tance of stu­dents to the Li­brary. These made me think hard of the rea­sons why stu­dents have dropped out of the Li­brary. Dur­ing my first months, I did not sit in my of­fice but went around the Li­brary ob­serv­ing stu­dents. I learned a lot from this method­ol­ogy called un­ob­tru­sive re­search. I gained in­sights and un­der­stand­ing on how our mil­len­ni­als use the Li­brary, on how they be­have dif­fer­ently. These in­sights and per­spec­tives were the driv­ing force to re-tool and re-ed­u­cate the Li­brary staff, over­haul the use of space, in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy equip­ment, fur­ni­ture and fix­tures, and most im­por­tantly im­prove fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices.

Drawing on Ray Olden­burg’s con­cept of the third place, which I came across much later, there is a need to pro­vide stu­dents with a com­fort­able, con­ve­nient, and stress free en­vi­ron­ment. This trans­lates to the li­brary eas­ing up ac­cess rules and reg­u­la­tions which are age old and no longer nec­es­sary. The con­cept of the third space has opened up the idea of us look­ing at the li­brary no longer as a mere phys­i­cal struc­ture of print books but an or­ga­ni­za­tion where print and elec­tronic ma­te­ri­als to­gether with space and tech­nol­ogy converge to sat­isfy the needs and ex­pec­ta­tions of stu­dents. The trans­formed, re­fur­bished, im­proved and up­graded UP Baguio Li­brary has at­tracted more stu­dents, made them ap­pre­ci­ate the Li­brary and en­ticed them to linger and avail of the Li­brary’s re­sources. And this trans­for­ma­tion did not ne­ces­si­tate a huge amount of bud­get.

Fi­nally, the pur­pose of my pa­per is not only to present what the UP Baguio Li­brary has ac­com­plished to im­prove Li­brary read­er­ship. It also seeks to share some prac­ti­cal tips on how to en­tice read­ers to make use of the Li­brary with­out in­vest­ing heav­ily on fi­nan­cial re­sources. These poli­cies and im­prove­ments made will hope­fully en­cour­age bud­get strapped li­braries to fol­low in our foot­steps. Key­words: Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines Baguio trans­for­ma­tion; li­brary im­prove­ment; third place Li­brary; stu­dent ser­vices; li­brary

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