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CNC’s Learning Commons brings supports together to offer better research, testing, and resource flexibility for students and staff

CNC’s library is getting a makeover with a redefined purpose and name to reflect the evolving needs of students. The Learning Commons is a revision from the traditional library experience, moving towards collaborative spaces, digital resources, and a focus on academic supports.

“We want to save the time of the learner,” said Ignacio Albarracin, director of CNC’s Learning Commons and Academic Success, in a news release. “If we can point students towards reliable content that will work for their class, regardless of where they are or which campus they attend, the more likely they are to use the library in the future.”

To minimize time and geographic barriers for students, 50,000 physical materials have already been replaced with electronic content. The additions include over 200,000 e-books, streaming videos, and podcasts.

“That’s all-new content that was never available before, and what’s beneficial about digital content is we’ll be able to organize the information to make it easier for students to discover. Students can focus their time on completing assignments rather than spending that time finding sources to start the assignment,” said Albarracin.

Fewer bookshelves means more study space for students, with new comfortable variations of modular seating creating study zones for students to work individually or collaboratively on projects. Plans include a technology-lending program and seamless integration with the Academic Success Centre (testing and tutoring).

“Philosophically, the library and the Academic Success Centre should work together because we want to do seamless handoffs between the tutors and the librarians,” said Albarracin. “We don’t want it to be seen as remedial – like you’re only coming to us if you’re struggling in class. We want everyone to get the highest grades possible and have the best experience at CNC.”

The project will see both the Learning Commons and the Academic Success Centre co-located into the space that currently houses the library. Once physically merged, additional steps will be taken to integrate those services to seamlessly complement each other.

“I am very pleased to have been a part of the change process through the Learning Commons project,” said Shelley Carter-Rose, vice president of student affairs. “I look forward to seeing how the implementation of these innovative services and supports makes a positive impact on students’ success.”

The new vision and recommendations for change came from an extensive library review process conducted from January to September 2021. An institutional cross-steering committee with staff, faculty and administration guided the process through a Learning Commons Consultancy organization. The recommendations that emerged from the review provided a blueprint for future improvements, with a heavy focus on digitizing and providing supports that can be accessed remotely.

Visit the Learning Commons for up-to-date information on the project and to access the Library Review report.

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