Medical School building

The Library in the Life of the User – intermission – visit to the wide open spaces

I mentioned last post that I visited a library while waiting for the conference to start.  I basically invited myself for a self directed tour.

This is a quick run through of what I found when I visited the Galter Health Sciences Library located a few minutes walk from the conference.

Medical School building

Feinberg Medical School

The library is based in a fantastic Gotham style skyscraper with lovely details – it was great to really have the feel of a medical school.

Harvey quote

Got to love a bit of Harvey

While there was no security gate in the library there was a guard on a desk outside for the building more generally and I was issued with a temporary paper ID badge with my photo on it.


Library Map

You will likely be unsurprised to hear that they had loads of space.  The Medical School is somewhat smaller than the one I work with and space felt under no pressure (though it may have been a quiet time).  You arrive though a wide corridor with a run of capacious staff offices on one side with liaison teams in a highly visible location. Self issue was not yet in place.

The first reading room had been renovated but kept in a very traditional style (I didn’t take a picture but you can see it here) it had a club feel, traditional desks, wood, busts of eminent folk and stained glass. I suspect it would maintain a good self policed working atmosphere. It looked a bit like this space on an upper floor but more so:

Study space

Leafy space

Moving round the corner things became more modern. I loved a collection of anatomical learning aids / models that were available on open access and in the catalogue. Flip charts and mobile white boards meant people could shift things to suit their needs.


Anatomy for loan

There were a variety of teaching spaces on the ground floor with a very snug computer room in use when I passed and a much larger space used as open access computing the rest of the time.  There were several sets of group study rooms in different locations with varying levels of equipment (Conference Rooms in their parlance).


Blackboard in study room

Upstairs a whole mezzanine area was boxed off where they had previously stored journals and had not yet decided what to do with the space (did I mention space pressure was low?).

Library interior

Special Collections – displays on left

Special collections had their own space within the library with lots of display cases along corridors. They were not around when I visited.

Along the wide open areas of the top floor they were busily engaged in prototyping new furniture options.  Students were invited to give them a go and provide feedback. Most popular were various combinations of desks with cloth walls creating enclosures for group or individual work.  These were in use despite there being other more spacious options available.

The final gesture in the “we have so much space we hardly know what to do with it” stakes was a display of posters. Spot the careful arrangement to minimize footprint.


Poster display

I just had time for a quick bite of lunch before the previously reported conference session.




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