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Sketch of library entry

Sketch of library entry

Observation Target: Morning arrival at the College Library.


Observation from my perspective:

  • I arrive at the front door of the library at 8:15am. There are fourteen students waiting for the doors to open. It is pretty cold!
  • As I open the door, more students from the main playground wander over to enter the library.
  • They come in one at a time or in pairs to place their bags on the bag shelves in the foyer and take their gear out. The ones at the back wait until the ones at the front have moved into the library before they come inside. Lots of chatter.
  • Some students wait outside until the foyer area is less full. Many have to step over bags.
  • I greet the students and have a chat with them about trial exams.
  • I turn on the lights, switch on the air-con and start the main terminal.
  • Students spread out throughout the library, some to single tables, some to group tables.
  • A number of students come to collect whiteboard markers.
  • A student can’t print and I realise that the printers are not on.
  • I do daily tasks such as logging on to the network, checking the booking sheets (students are asking to use the breakout spaces) and helping students connect to the printers.
  • I warn students that the bell will ring soon.
  • The bell rings for P1 – students have to wait to access foyer and locate their bag.


Empathetic observations:

  • Some students have had to wait quite a while between the arrival of their bus and the opening of the library.
  • When entering the library, it is cold, with the lights off.
  • Students have a cheery greeting from the TL at the door.
  • They have to wait to put their bag into the foyer and enter the library.
  • Students may be wary to approach for teaching and learning help, as they notice that the practicalities are being dealt with.


Relevant memories:

  • On morning where tasks are due, there can be 30-50 students waiting when I arrive.
  • Students comment that they will come back to work with TL at recess or lunch when there is more time.

**Only included pics without clear image of students.

I have commented on Elizabeth’s blog


Lisa’s post

Margaret’s post


Student unpacking in foyer

Student unpacking in foyer

Student stepping over bags

Student stepping over bags

Bags in foyer. Aaargh!

Bags in foyer. Aaargh!

§34 · August 5, 2014 · Assessment, INF 536, Library · (6 comments) ·

6 Comments to “Blog Task 2”

  1. Ngaire says:

    Hi Heather,
    We had the same problem with bags in our library foyer, especially on the evenings homework club was being run. Our maintenance guy (who is a former builder) came up with the idea of putting a set of shelves in between the two sets of in and out doors. It has made a huge difference and cut down on the tripping over of bags.

  2. msimkin says:

    Bags are a perennial problem, and we have no space available that is always out of the weather. During class times before lunch it is not a problem, but after lunch and after school we often have scenes such as the one you have pictured.
    I like the diarising of your day, which reads much like my own except we have a smaller student body. I love the fact that they start coming in as soon as the doors are open. Like you, I have regulars and those who are racing the clock for printing work off. I am also conscious of not letting one group dominate a space – as a cosy library it has to be seen as a space for all comers.

  3. Liz Eckert says:

    Is there a reason that the bags have to stay out of the library? We currently don’t have bag racks etc for students in our library. However, Yr 8&9s are expected to have their bags in their lockers by home group (around 8:30am). Yr 10-12 aren’t required to have lockers yet (we’re slowing implementing that requirement as the current yr 9s progress through school).Yr 10-12 students have the option of lockers but many don’t use them and so bring their bags into the library all the time.
    I have been required to not have bags in the library at a prior school and we had similar issues with the bags on the floor. We had a double sided aisle way with 2 entry/exit points to outside but one flow into & and another flow out of the library. The second external exit/entry door would be in a similar spot to where you have students stuck on your map.

    I do like the way you’ve noted your morning. I would say mine is probably very similar.

    Re the cold start, does your heating have the option of being on a timer to turn on? Our building is set externally somehow and is always on before 7:45am (when I typically aim to arrive) and turns off at 4:30pm (we do have an override switch to extend the time the heating/aircon is on by 2 hours if needed)

  4. Sara R says:

    Hi Heather,

    I also have the bag in foyer issue. Sometimes we have year meetings in the library, which means over 200 backpacks in the entry. Every day I would have over 100 there at lunchtime. We have shelves, but there are too many bags to fit, and many students put bags on the floor because it’s easier than lifting them onto a shelf. For us, too, the bags are a tripping hazard and a fire hazard. I wonder if we allowed bags into the library like you, Liz, if we wouldn’t just be transferring the trip hazard into the library. Space inside the library is at a premium already and we are heavily booked with classes and full at breaktimes. I think this bag issue is a prime design conundrum to solve in our libraries. I will expand the bag shelving, and try to enforce putting bags on the shelves. I have also considered adding a low wall in the centre of the foyer with hooks to hang additional bags, but this further reduces the space students have to wait. I feel that I must somehow think differently about this to solve it adequately. Maybe I should just let kids bring bags inside?


  5. heather.jesuadian@syd.catholic.edu.au says:

    Thank you for all of your feedback! I love the idea of having the air con come on before we arrive! We don’t have that option at the moment, but we are thinking of a building refit and I wouldn’t have ever considered thinking about how the air-con will work. Now I will put it on my list!

    We are a bit flexible about bags…if the library is quiet and people bring them in, we don’t worry too much, but when the library is busy, if they all had their bags in, it would just limit movement around the space. It is such a small library, and generally jam-packed with students.

    I love that this course is forcing me to think about these things that have always seemed a little unsolvable….

  6. Ronnie says:

    Oh yes the age old student bag problem! Why do they need such big ones? What an earth do they put in them?
    I’d like to think of this in a different way – we all have a practical solution in mind – how about thinking a bit laterally? These bags ARE the students learning spaces – I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I move my ‘learning space’ i.e. my laptop bag, from home to training room to airport to mine site to telco exchange – as long as I have a relatively flat space and a power socket I’m good to go.
    How about putting the onus back on the students?
    I’d be putting signs up asking ‘do you need everything thats in that bag? – Leave your sports kit and lunch out here and only bring into the library what you need’ You might find that some students will bring a smaller bag in with their laptop, books etc, some might not bring one in at all and some might bring the whole darn thing in……. might apportion out the racks outside a bit more and give the students the responsibility of their own ‘portable learning space’
    I can already see 100 holes in my idea but……

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