138th Kentucky Derby

We have officially kicked off our thesis exploration! The research we will be doing this summer will help us to evaluate the direction we want to head at the beginning of the fall semester.

Our main focus, as well as the topic of upcoming blog posts, will be the work we are doing with the Free Library of Philadelphia. We previously collaborated with the Library to plan and host a community workshop to generate spatial, experiential and service-related ideas for a newly renovated space in the Central Branch. For our work this summer, and hopefully into the next school year, will be developing a new teen space with programming.

Specifically, we will be conducting research with the internal Library staff, the "extensions" staff–branches and hot-spots (internet access in areas without a library branch), and the users of the new space–the teens. In addition to our primary research, we will also be referencing two main secondary research sources. The first is a recently published study by The PEW Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Research Initiative titled: "The Library in the City: Changing Demands and a Challenging Future," which outlines six main areas in the Libraries' strategic plan that we will be incorporating in our work. These broad themes are:

  • a commitment to new technology
  • a redesign of the library Web site to increase virtual access to library resources
  • a reorganization of staff to increase accountability for discrete initiatives
  • greater branch specialization to respond to specific community needs
  • a focus on intra-staff communication and staff training
  • increased marketing and promotion of library services

The second is a study conducted by Mizuko Ito and team, titled: "Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out, Kids Living and Learning with New Media." It discusses the new ways in which kids/teens are interacting and learning with new media technologies and how this can be leveraged in spaces such as the one we will be designing with the Library.

We look forward to sharing our thesis exploration with you and appreciate any feedback or comments you have along the way!