Friday, November 21, 2014

The CSI Lab is Officially Open for Business!

For years the library has wanted to provide collaborative study spaces for students. The problem has been that only two rooms in the library have walls that extend to the ceiling and sound carries throughout the building from every office. We had nearly forgotten about it when one of those rooms became available. The responsibility for classroom media support had migrated from the library to Information Systems and we no longer needed secure storage space for Audio/Visual equipment.

As we began considering what it would take to repurpose the room, adding the technology aspect became a topic of discussion. Our new Systems and Technical Services Librarian, Jennifer Rich, had been a computer teacher and provided technology support to the staff at her former school. She had a lot of ideas and after a brief consultation with HIU Technical Director, Chuck Mitchell, (who also operates Technology of The Arts setting up high tech for public schools and mega-churches,) she made a wish list to equip the room with relevant educational technology. We then made a proposal to Treasures N Beyond board for funding and they approved!

All of a sudden we had an extreme make-over project underway. Our Library Services Manager, Katy Lines, mobilized her crew of Student Library Assistants to prepare the room for renovation, finding new places for the miscellaneous items that had ended up there. Jennifer ordered a big screen TV, various adaptor cables and connectors, Apple TV, and flexible tables. She coordinated installation with our Operations Department which turned into a domino effect of drilling holes in walls, creating new electrical connections, modifying the ventilation, painting, and arranging to have a “vision kit” (bigger window) and attractive signage put on the door.

Mike Carter, Warren Lopez of Information Systems and
Steve Mullins, Darren Conway, and Jerry Chavez
representing Operations Departments made the CSI Lab possible.
Once installed, Information Systems was called in to configure the connections and make the technology play well with our network and systems.

During the grand opening event, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Terri Bogan, articulated the value of collaborative study in terms of Information Literacy and pointed out how students in every discipline need to be able to use common information technologies to enhance their learning through practice and sharing.

Katy added a few words about how students have already been using the room and the policies and procedures developed so far. Finally, Katherine Rowe, representing Treasures N Beyond, was invited to cut the ribbon, officially opening the CSI Lab.

Katherine Rowe cuts the ribbon.
Those in attendance were given a commemorative CSI Lab Grand Opening Bookmark.

With ideas and creative contributions by student workers, the room is decorated with obsolete technology such as books on using flannelgraphs and effective use of chalk boards in Sunday School. There is a Pastor's Microfiche Library, VHS tapes, and a vinyl record. All this is to remind us that technology, no matter how bleeding edge it is, is merely a communication tool. We should always use the best means of getting our message across to our audience - with or without high or low tech.

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