A census was taken in public seating areas of the John C. Hitt Library, University of Central Florida, over three months in July, August and September of 2018. The purpose was to discover answers to the following questions, and more generally to inform future space planning: (1) Number of “quiet” zone seats occupied vs. “non- quiet”; (2) Multi-seat study table utilization; (3) Group study room seat utilization; (4) Utilization of workstations with desktop personal computers; (5) furniture type utilization in general.
The Library has a public seat count of 1,723, with at least ten (10) different seating types. Forty percent of the seating is less than 10 years old reflecting newer trends in academic library furniture design, with the balance dating back to the 1980’s. At the time of this writing, eight censuses or surveys have been taken. The goal is to conduct at least 20 censuses before end of September, to help ensure an accurate reflection of seating preferences in the building. The survey data will inform future space planning (longer term), and to help maximize utilization of existing furniture in the short run. Drilling into the goals a bit more, the data will hopefully reveal answers to specific questions: What is the true utilization of a 6-person study table and does this inform what sizes of study tables should be purchased in future renovations? Just how popular is all that soft upholstered seating the library has invested in over the past 10 years? How are group study rooms being utilized and what is the tendency of an individual patron to “commandeer” a group study room, or two people a 10-12 person room? Should the library have a minimum user requirement for group study rooms, and are tables in study rooms too large or too small? Does the library have the proper mix of quiet vs non quiet areas in the building? Regarding desktop PC workstations, are students continuing to take advantage of library supplied desktop PCs, or is use declining? University administrators are closing campus computer labs and increasingly advocating for more of a BYOED (Bring Your Own Electronic Device) environment, with less investment in university supplied desktop PCs. If desktop utilization remains strong in the library, how well does this bode for maintaining their place in the building?
The presentation will share all of these findings, as well as background on the library’s ongoing repurposing and plans for expansion of seating in the library. With over 38,000 student FTE on the main campus, yielding a very low 4.5% seat to FTE ratio, the library is planning an ambitious renovation to nearly double the seat count over the next 6 years. The apportionment of seating type, not just the increase in numbers, will be very important to ensure maximum student benefit and return on investment.
ALA Unit/Subunit: LLAMA
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.