Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons
John Popko, University Librarian, October 13, 2010
Approved by Academic Assembly, November 1, 2010
Late in the construction phase of Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons, the university designated the proposed reading room on the 6th Floor, northeast corner, to be an SU Faculty Lounge. Quoting from the Provost's communication of April 21, 2010, to the faculty on this development:
"Since my arrival at Seattle University in 2008, I have heard from many of you regarding the need and value of a dedicated spaced on campus for faculty to visit with colleagues and undertake the informal collaboration that often leads to new ideas, interdisciplinary research and teaching partnerships. This September…the university will dedicate a new reading room/lounge to the exclusive use of our faculty… This space will serve as a quiet faculty retreat for individual reading, writing and study, and also offer spaces where faculty may engage in small group discussion and collaboration."
Library construction was largely complete and furnishings for the space had already been programmed and purchased at the time of the decision for a faculty space. It is not possible to enclose the space with locked doors due to fire code regulations (the hallway must have access to the emergency exit on the north side of the building, which is within the lounge area). At this time there are no amenities (such as kitchen-like facilities) nor are staff available to provide support, security, or services. The space is not a full-fledged "faculty club" as we might wish for, but is a lounge and reading room within a large and open facility.
Because of these conditions, the attitudes and behaviors of the entire university community are crucial to the successful launch of this space. Students love the new facility and fill it early and often, laying claim to favorite corners, rooms, and pieces of furniture. In order firmly to assert the faculty's exclusive use of this space, faculty must claim, and own, their lounge by using it regularly. Faculty should respectfully redirect students to find another place to work. To assist in reinforcing this as a special faculty space, the library administration has posted additional temporary signage in the hallway leading to the Faculty Lounge. This signage clarifies that SU faculty are the intended audience for this room and refers students, staff, and visitors to use other parts of the facility for their reading, study, and group work. Such actions might not be sufficient to protect the space for exclusive faculty use, but are surely necessary if we are to achieve that end.
To further lay claim to the space, to encourage its use, and to manage the expectations of its users, I propose that the Library Administration and Academic Assembly agree on guidelines and practices for the inaugural year of operation of the new Faculty Lounge. I further propose that these same parties commit to undertake a joint review of the success of such guidelines in early May 2011, with the intent of adjusting the guidelines, if needed, for the subsequent academic year, 2011/12. The following points are offered as preliminary guidelines and practices.