Saturday, 19 May 2012

More lovely libraries...

Yesterday I visited the Health Sciences library and the Curriculum Materials Collection, both also located in the centre of Grand Rapids. The Cook-Devos Center for Health Sciences is part of what is known as the “Medical Mile” at GVSU. This is an area along Michigan Street (one of the major arteries into the City Centre) which hosts a cancer research facility, the Meijer Heart Center and a children’s hospital, among other healthcare-related buildings. Most of these have been built in just the last 15 years.

The Cook-Devos building houses the Frey Foundation Learning Center. Due to something of a design quirk, one half of the facility is on the 1st floor and the other half is on the 4th floor! I am told this can make for some interesting scenarios from an operational perspective. The largely glass building provices some fantastic views and makes for bright and airy environment:

The Cook-Devos Center (the taller building) was completed in 2003

The glass front area of the building includes the Frey Center

 Pills lodged in the group study area on the 4th floor

The 1st floor study area at the Frey Learning Center    

        A ‘model’ student doctor  accesses the library’s e-resources                  

The Curriculum Materials Library (CML) is a very similar resource to our Teaching Resources collection back at Kingston University. The library has a range of materials which teaching students can use to take to classes, including puzzles, board games, picture books, props and around 300 puppets! A preparation area also offers students the chance to get creative and make their own resources. As well as poster-making machinery, laminating equipment and (wire and comb) binders, the area comes complete with an extensive stack of Ellison die cut templates which allow patrons to punch out letters and shapes quickly and easily:

One of four cut-out-and-keep cats made for me using the Ellison machine!
Puppets galore! Preparation materials can also be seen on the background
A student-made display about ocean life at the CML 
One of the key traits of libraries at GVSU which differs from libraries where I work is that it will tend to be students who are at service points, rather than staff and this was also the case at the CML. Reference (or subject) librarians are not rostered on desks at all and this frees them up to play more of a role in supporting their respective faculties. There is similarly a keen emphasis on peer-to-peer learning and this is something I will go into more detail about when I come to find out more about the new GVSU library building which is currently being built on the Allendale site.
Last night I went on to the Grand Rapids Art Museum for some live piano music and an exhibition by Robert Rauschenberg (nope. Me neither). It was then off to Graydon’s Crossing for dinner with some of the GVSU staff (it boasts about 50 different beers and claims to offer a “traditional British pub atmosphere”.. although I didn't see a single stained beer rag anywhere, it wasn’t the slightest bit musty and there were plenty of places to sit down. What a gip!).  
The Grand Rapids Art Museum features some stunning architecture

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