Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries

New Post, new post! Calling Learning Commons Librarians!


Hello readers! After a long transition, I am finally in place at my new position, Learning Commons Librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Undergraduate Library! (wow, that’s a mouthful!). My apartment is full of boxes, my week is full of scheduled meetings, my mind is full of exciting possibilities, and my heart, my heart is full of happiness.

I am so thrilled to be here.

The new position is going to be an interesting ride, mediating my idealistic hopes and plans for the Learning Commons with the institutional realities and prior shape of the Commons. I’m still working on my ‘elevator speech’ but I think I’ve given the super succinct version here before: I’ll be creating collaborations with academic and student services units across campus to maximize the unique opportunities afforded by being one of the few non- or trans- disciplinary educational sites on campus.

It’s a huge change from my very traditional former position as an instruction dn collection development librarian, but I think this position will allow me to explore the reasons I came to librarianship in the first place. I left my doctoral program in Religious studies in large part because I realized that the take away I wanted was much more about enhanced critical thinking and less about content than might be desirable for a disciplinary professor. I entered librarianship because I thought there was enormous potential for enhancing undergraduate critical thinking skills through information literacy. My take on the Learning Commons is that it is a way to focus more on critical thinking and information literacy, although in a non-classroom-based manner.

This seems to be a very different take on Learning Commons’ than what I’m seeing out there in the literature, so I expect you will be hearing a lot from me on Libraries as a locus for learning and knowledge creation as I try to build community and develop like-minded support, and generally change the world.

That said, I have started a small spreadsheet of Learning Commons folks that I know of. Please, leave a comment or drop me a line if this is your work too — I’m eager to see all the different forms this work can take!


6 thoughts on “New Post, new post! Calling Learning Commons Librarians!

  1. Rudi.
    Our modus operandi at Champlain is very similar: we are a Learning Commons through and through. We try to create an environment where students can explore and engage with librarians, with student services, with professors, with other students. It is different and presents different challenges than traditional library models but the rewards are many. Congratulations! If you see Allen, tell him I am thinking of him.

  2. Rudi, welcome to the commons–it’s a great place to be! The University of Kentucky’s commons is very focused on partnerships with other campus services. We’ve been open for less than two years and have really created buzz on campus as the place to go. I share a lot of information about our commons, “the Hub” on my blog, the Uncommon Commons. I’m glad you are putting together a list of us–let’s stay in touch.

  3. Pingback: New Learning Commons Librarian « Tombrarian

  4. Hi Rudi,

    Welcome to the world of the commons. When I accepted my position at Lied Library at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, I inherited an Information Commons and have worked to expand the services and technology options for our students.

    I recently got to visit the Hub, meet Stacey, and discover her blog. If you haven’t subscribed to Uncommon Commons, I recommend doing so since it’s a great resource.

  5. Excellent site, keep up the good work

  6. this great Rudi. I was a Mortenson fellow in 2005, and there was no talk of LC then. I have been pleasantly surprised about the strides your University has made since then.

    We, at the University of Botswana are also transitioning from traditinal Information commons evironment, if you like to learning commons. our greatest challenge is to find a founding Learning commons coordinator – so we are advertising for one, if you know someone who is seasoned and has travelled this route, this is the person we are looking for



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