Project Activities and Outputs

Project Activities

Environmental Changes Made

After the space change plan in the Children’s Services department, we believe to achieve:

  • Increased parents-children collaboration at computer lab;
  • The same level of staff monitoring computers;
  • Better presence of Children Services in the space.

At the entrance, users can see more new children’s books rather than computers. This more effectively presents the services and features of this department. At the same time, library staff can still watch on all computers, both for children and adult to make sure no inappropriate contents are browsed in the library. Beyond the computer lab itself, the whole space will be improved to be more collaborative. Parents at the newly located space are more able to watch and communicate with their children. It is also easier for children to position their parents, and come for help whenever they need.

Further Project and Research

According to Stocker (2013), a project-based research model has five procedures:diagnose, prescribe, implement, and evaluate. In our project, we have finished the first two steps. The upcoming research group could follow up on the last two steps to implement and evaluate the project.

We understand that community technology project should be based on community resource availability and their needs. Since CSD at UFL will purchase new furniture when their budget and staff are ready, later research team could work on picking new suited furniture for their computer lab, and evaluate how the new furniture facilitate parents and children better use the library.

Training and Documentation Provided

Meeting 1:

Date: 1/29th /2013             Time: 12:30 to 2:30

In this day, the whole class including our group met with Dr. Martin and Lora the director of Children department at Urbana Free library. After a brief self-introduction for all of us, Lora explained the significance of the children department for the community residents. Then she talked about her concern in redesigning the parent computer labs in her department. She believes that the current design does not allow collaboration and interactions between parents and children. Also; having the parent computer lab in the front does not give the impression for the visitors that this is a children library.  She seeks to have a more open space which allows more potential for family collaboration using technology. Later, Dr. Martin took us to the second level to have a look at the computer labs in the adult section which was recently redesigned by a group of GSLIS students to meet the community needs and the users of this space.

Meeting 2:

Date: 2/17th/ 2013             Time: 3:30 to 4:30

Our goal from this meeting was to listen to Lora more closely in order to better understand the services that the library provides for the community, and then to identify the problems and the needs of a new plan that better help the community. We walked through the space and we looked at the computer labs, the users, and the furniture. As Lora said; the space in the library is not used well. Both computer labs are not close to each other. The space needs to be more open and non-square. The computer labs need to be closed to the front desk to let the staff monitor children and adults as well. The size of the front desk is very large and it needs to be shrunk. There is also a need for a tiny place in the front to display the new books. As of the technical issues; Lora said that the cables and the connection come from the floor or the ceiling; they do have firewalls but no filters “we are the filters” and they do not want to have filters. After listing to Lora we asked if it is possible to get the community’s voice or the staff‘s input in the project. Lora then agreed to present our plan in the next staff meeting.

Meeting 3:

Date: 2/21st / 2013Time: 11:30 -12:30 pm

In this day; we attended the library staff meeting in the children department to present our project in order to have their inputs. We believe that the staff are very valuable resources in the library as they observe the daily activities in the library and they have good view of what the community needs. We asked them about their vision in redesigning the space for a better use to serve the people. Their vision was to create an environment that is more child/parent friendly.  To elaborate; the new design needs to expand on technology while keeping the other activities. Sometimes the library has programs that need to be in one space and one area such as: Chess club on every Saturday afternoon. This will require keeping the activity area open.

All staff also asked to move the adult’s computer lab from the front and put it near the children computer lab to have more family collaborative space. To add; they did not like the Front disk; they asked to have a more circular reference disk and move the shelf behind it which acts as a buffer somewhere else because it blocks the space. They also asked for more adoptable and modular furniture for the kids’ friendly environment and collaborative work. For example; they liked the star shape disk in the adult section of the library.

(After these meetings we worked together as a team to come up with a new plan to better serve the users and the usage of the children department in the library. We also worked in developing a logic model based on our readings …..)

Meeting 4

Date: 3/24 th/ 2013Time: 2:00 -3:00 pm

In this day we met with Lora to discuss the proposed plan for moving the parents’ computer lab and our logic model. Based on Lora, library staff, and our observations we have suggested moving the computer lab behind the front disk. Then; moving the front disk a little bit forward and also leaving a little space in the front to add a shelf to display the new books. We also suggested to move back the two shelves behind the front disk. Lora liked the idea and the new design. Later; we showed her the logic model we have designed. Our logic model includes resources (all people who are willing to help in the project), activities (the actions and the activities that are needed to implement the project), output (the statistical data needed to measure the effectiveness of the project), short-term outcome, mid-term outcome, and long-term outcomes. For the short-term outcome; this project aims to invite children friendly entrance, and it allows more collaborative space for parents and children altogether with more flexible computer use and a greater library department usage. As for the mid-term outcome; the project aims to provide environment that inspires creativity and imagination and it provides better observations and parenting. As for the long-term outcome; the project aims to offer better quality of UFL’s children’s department for Urbana residents. After an agreement of the previous plan; we suggested to do some measurements and meet with the tech people and the director of UFL (Debra Lissak).

Meeting 5:

Date: 4/2nd / 2013    Time: 12:30 to 1:30 pm

This time our group met with Dr. Martin Wolske (Professor in GSLIS in UIUC) to have his opinion in our proposed plan. Dr. Wolske likes the proposed plan and he helped us to identify the philosophy behind it. Based on his opinion; the new design should make the user flow and the interaction between parents and children easier. There is a need to have an open space without having any hurdles in the way between children movement and the parent computer lab. We have also checked the jacks and plug in to see if the proposed place is suitable or we need to add some cables. Fortunately; there were enough cables and jacks for the computer lab. Our next step then was to hear from Lora about their availability to move the computer labs.


Meeting 6:

Date: 4/7th / 2013    Time: 1:30 to 2:30 pm

This time we met with Lora to finalize our proposed plan and to inform her of Dr. Wolske’ meeting and his input. Lora agreed with Dr. Wolske’s point of view and our proposed plan. However; she told us that they won’t be available to move the furniture within the month of April as they have some annual celebrations and activities during this time. Also; Debra Lissak the director is also having a full and busy schedule and we are still trying to fit ourselves in her calendar if it is possible.

Site Use

Right now these computers are mainly used for information search and entertainment most of the time. Children usually use these computers to facilitate their homework, play video games, or to browse information from online. Parent users usually use computers to browse information or watch videos online. There are no officially scheduled library activities, but children and parents come in for programs tend to use them. Thus they are under heavy use. (Remember how heavy they are used and the use flow pattern?)

Scenarios from Observations:

Date: Feb 4th/ 2013

Time: 5: 47pm to  6:22pm.

Some children were playing games in the children computer lab and some adults were working on the parent computer lab surfing the net, checking emails and Facebook accounts. Nearly; half of the computers in the parent computer lab were occupied by adults and half of the computers in the children computer lab were occupied by kids.

There was a mom holding her toddler in one hand and trying to help the other older child playing with the computer with the other hand while standing. She modified herself by bending her body over to make both children satisfied. There was no space enough for her to sit near her child.

Also there was a man wanted to work with his partner in the parent computer lab. He was also bending himself over until he brought a chair and squished himself hardly near the computer and near his partner.

The computer labs are not well-designed to allow any group interactions or collaborations. The distance between the adult computer lab and the children computer lab is very far which it may hinder parents and children interactions. Thus; there is a need to make it more open, accessible, and collaborative.

Meeting 7:

Date: 4/24th / 2013    Time: 11:00 to 12:00 pm & 1:00 to 3:00

In this day our group met with Lora to get some statistics information about the computer usage in the department and also the expectoration output of this project.  Lora said the followings: they expect to increase 10 % of the children computer lab usage. Also; they look forward to increase the parents’ computer lab usage of 10 %. Additionally, Lora said they need to increase the new juvenile fiction and nonfiction books to 10 % as well. Basically; they are looking for a 10 % increase in the overall activities and program outputs as a result of this new plan. Furthermore; Lora said they are going to get 4 laptops for public use. Each one can be checked out once a day and about 28 times total in a week.

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