The evolution of a “sandbox” space within the East Commons of the Library at Georgia Tech (begun in 2001) was a featured presentation at the 2008 workshop on Learning Spaces & Technology co-sponsored by CIC, NITLE, and PKAL (the LSC predecessor). Crit Stuart, then at the Association of Research Libraries in Washington DC, spoke of his experience while at Georgia Tech in involving students throughout the planning process.
A variety of approaches were undertaken to capture what students would be looking for in the renovated spaces. Themes arising from the focus groups included: spaces that were aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and made it possible to move easily between hard work and breaks (accessible refreshments); spaces in which the creativity of GT can be celebrated, with “productivity” tools for group work; spaces that could morph to student needs and offered a heterogeneous mix of options.
Students wanted to see and be seen learning. They want to be able to move things around to fit the particular needs of their time, their group.