Do Your Library Spaces Help Entrepreneurs? Space Planning for Boosting Creative Thinking

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Mark Bieraugel, (2019), Do Your Library Spaces Help Entrepreneurs? Space Planning for Boosting Creative Thinking, in Supporting Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Volume 40) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.21 - 32

DO

YOUR

LIBRARY

SPACES

HELP

ENTREPRENEURS?

SPACE

PLANNING

FOR

BOOSTING

CREATIVE

THINKING

Mark Bieraugel

ABSTRACT

Supportingentrepreneurshipandinnovationisa goalformanycollege cam-puses.How canyourlibrarysupportthosegoals?Shouldyou adda maker-space to your library? Or makeother costly changes? Library spaces help studentsthinkatahigherlevel,tobecreative, innovative,and entrepreneur-ial.Itis raretohaveadedicatedspoton campusforthinking.Ourlibraries arethose spaces. Spaces that strongly foster entrepreneurialthinking range fromquietreflectivespacestonoisycollaborativespaces.Youdonotneedto do an elaborate study to understand your library spaces. To assess your libraryspacesas theyrelatetoinnovativeand entrepreneurialthinking,first takeaninventoryofyourexistinglibraryspaces.Byexaminingyourexisting spacesand theactivitiesinthem,youseewhichofthesixessentialtypes of spacesyouhaveandwhichonesyoulack.Onceyouhavedoneaspace assess-ment,youcanseehowyoucanreadilyaddanyofthesixspacesyoulack.A casestudyofanacademiclibrary’sspaceinventory,assessment, and recom-mendations helps illustrate the process. You use your space inventory for present and future space planning and to communicate your worthto your stakeholders.Librariescanmarketuniquespacestostudents(e.g.“Hereare spaces to help you think creatively”), support CreativeCampus initiatives, andpromotelibraryspaceswhichfosterentrepreneurialthinking.

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Academiclibrariestraditionallysupportstudententrepreneurs withinformation resources, library guides, and research consultations with librarians. However, academiclibrariesdomuchmorethanthat.Theyalsoprovidespaceswhere stu-dententrepreneurscanthink,work,create,andinnovate.

Previousresearchonspacesinacademiclibrariesandoncampusprovedthat certain types of spaces fosteredentrepreneurial thinking and behaviors in stu-dents (Bieraugel & Neill, 2017). The research found that six differenttypes of spacesfosteredentrepreneurship.Thesixdistinctspacesthathelpentrepreneurs arecollaborationrooms,communaltables,computerlabs,greenspaces, maker-spaces,andsolospaces.Thestudyexaminedanumberofdistinctspaceswithin the library and throughoutcampus, includingauniversity union,a largeopen lawn, and a makerspace. Not allspaces fostered entrepreneurial thinking and behaviors,butthose thatsignificantly helpedstudents wereincludedinthetop six list.This researchfoundthat studentsusedifferentspacestoobserve, ques-tion,experiment,network,orreflect.Studentsalsoexploreorexploitideaswhen inthesespaces.

WHY

DESIGN

FOR

STUDENT

ENTREPRENEURS?

All students need to think creatively and innovatively, whether it is for their studiesorforotheraspectsoftheirlives.Nomatterwherestudentsmayworkin the future, they will need to be creative thinkers and problem solvers. Why design your library spaces for entrepreneurs? Institutions hold high goals for their students:not just thatthey learn, but thatthey experiment, explore new ideas,andcreatesomethingnew.Inshort,theyactentrepreneurially.In design-ingyourlibraryspacesforentrepreneurs,youaredesigningforahigherlevelof thinkingandlearning.

LIBRARY

SPACES

SUPPORT

UNIVERSITY

GOALS

AND

OUTCOMES

Academiclibrariesalignthemselveswithinstitutionalgoals,learningoutcomes, andother initiatives.Databases,booksandebooks,librarians,andlibrarystaff arefrequentlycitedasmeansof supportforthesegoalsand outcomes.Library spacesareoftenneglectedinthe listofassets.Watson (2013) notesit ishelpful tothinkaboutlibraryspacesasservices.Yourlibraryhasmultiplespaces,thus, your library offers multiple services. Your library needs to have six distinct spacestofosterentrepreneurs.

Byhighlightingthedistinctspacesinyourlibraryasassetsto student entre-preneurs,youdemonstrateyourcommitmenttotheirneedsandyoursupportof student learning, engagement, and entrepreneurialism. You also communicate yourvaluetostakeholders.Ifyouworkatabusinesslibrary,itisevenmore cru-cialthatyoudemonstrateyourvaluetoentrepreneurs.

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this willhelp you understandthe diversityof yourlibrary spaces.Byassessing your spaces and recognizing their value for student learning, creativity, and innovation, you can communicate that informationto your stakeholders, sup-porters,alumni,anddonors.

THE

SIX

SPACES

The six spaces that foster entrepreneurs are collaboration spaces, communal tables, computer labs, green spaces, makerspaces, and solo spaces. Collaborationspacesarewheretwoormorepeopleworktogether. Communal tables are where students can work together or alone at large work tables. Greenspacesareanyplacewith plants,trees,ornaturalfeatures.Makerspaces include bothtraditionalhigh technologyand simpler technologies.Solospaces aresingledesksorchairsthatallowstudentstoworkalone.

WHAT

YOU

ALREADY

HAVE:

SPACE

ASSESSMENT

TOOLS

Methodsto assessspacesand theactivitiesforwhichtheyareusedrange from quickandsimpletocomplexandtime-consuming.

FloorPlanþWalkthrough:SimpleandQuick

The simplest methodof assessing spaceisto first study thelibrary’sfloorplan and note each of the differenttypes of spaces.Then do a walkthrough of the entire library to seehowfurniture and other elements influence the use of the space.Itishelpfultotakephotosofspacesduringthewalkthroughtoremember whichareasfosterentrepreneurs.

BenefitsandCosts

Thebenefitsofthefloorplanandwalkthroughmethodareeaseandspeed,and theprocesscanbeaccomplishedbyasingleperson.Thisprocessquickly deter-mineswhichof thesixtypesofspacesyou haveandwhichtypesyou are miss-ing. However,this method only providesasurface understandingofhowyour spacesareused.Itdoesnotcapturehowstudentsuseeachofthelibraryspaces, particularly if a spaceis being used contrary to howit wasdesigned. Metrics suchas foottraffic, noiselevels, studentdemographics,or studentactivity and interactionsarealsomissing.Thatdoesnotinvalidatethismethodasafastway oflearningmoreaboutyourexistingspacesandwhatyoumightneed.Itsimply leadstotheneedforfurtherdataacquisition.

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Table1. SampleSpaceSurvey.

TheSixSpaces WhatYouHave WhatYouNeed

Collaborationspace

Communaltables

Computerlab

Greenspace

Makerspace

Solospace

SeatCounts,Sweeps,andSuma

Sweeps and seat counts representthe nextlevel of complexity inspace assess-ment. Sweeps are “systematic observations to chronicle how patrons use the building’s spaceand equipment”(Linn, 2013,p.511).Sweepscancapture sim-pledata,suchas howmanypeople areinaspaceataparticulartime,ormore complex data,suchas studentinteractionswithinspaces.Traditionally,sweeps haveusedprintedforms,butnewtoolsallowyoutocapturethesweepdatavia tabletsorsmartphones.

One digitaltool forgathering spaceuse data is Suma, a mobile web-based application created by North Carolina State University (Suma, 2014). Used with a phone or tablet, Suma assists in collecting data on yourspaces. Suma can do simple headcounts of people in spaces and gather specific data about student behavior in those spaces. For example, is a student using a laptop, or are students studying alone or working together?These data offer a more detailed picture of how spaces are actually used by students. Once the data are collected, Suma has a variety of reporting tools to visualize the data and assist with analysis.

BenefitsandCosts

AbenefitofusingSumaisthatyouarerequiredtoassignnamestoeachspace youstudy,therebygivingyoualistofexistingspaceswithinyourlibrary,which youcanthenuseinyourgapanalysis.Sumahelpsdetermineifyourspacesare well used or underutilized. These data can be used to support adding similar spacestoyourlibrary.

Ofcourse,Sumacannotcapturestudentdemographics orwhatstudents are thinking in your spaces. As an open source tool, it requires IT assistance to install and maintain. On the front end, work is required to determine your spaces,identifythedata youneedfromeachspace,andenterthose spacesinto the application. Gathering the data and ensuring data hygiene cost time and labor. The final steps are analyzing the data and taking action on what you learnedfromthedata.

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expand. Since you have designated each space type in your sweeps, you will knowwhichofthesixentrepreneurialspacesyouhaveandwhichonesyoulack. Also,youcanseenotonlywhatspacestoaddtofosteryourentrepreneurs,but alsowhatareasyouneedtoexpand.

StickyNotesandWhiteboardDataGathering

Anothermethodforgatheringinformationonstudentspaceuseinvolves white-boards and sticky notes (Ippoliti, Nykolaisyn, & German, 2017). Position a whiteboardnearthespacewithaquestionorpromptwrittenonit.Studentsare encouragedtowritearesponse abouttheirexperienceworking inthat environ-menton theboard oron stickynotes.Typicalpromptsor questionsinclude:if you could changeanythingaboutthis spacewhatwould you change,whatdo youdointhisspace,andwhydon’tyouusethisspace?

BenefitsandCosts

Thebenefitsofthissystemincludetheeaseofsetupandinformationgathering, low cost, and lack of technical work to create an area for feedback on your spaces. The downside is a lack of control over what students write, the time requiredtotranscribeandcodetheresponses,andthechallengeofanalyzingthe student responses. Also,the small sizeof a stickynote can limit the size and depthofastudentresponse.

Using stickynotes and whiteboards forinformation gathering is limited in thatyoudonotactuallyassessthe typesofspacesyoucurrentlyhaveandwhat spacesyou needforentrepreneurs. Youmustdo afloorplanand walkthrough assessmentinadditiontothismethodtoknowwhatspacesyouneed.

Surveys,Interviews,andFocusGroups

Togatherin-depthusagedata,anumberoftoolsareatyourdisposal.Surveys, interviews,focusgroups,anddiariescanallcollectrichdataabouthowstudents use your diverse library spaces. I have used surveys to gather information on howmylibrary’sspacesareused,whousesthem,andwhethertheyarefostering orhinderingentrepreneurialthinkingandbehaviors(Bieraugel & Neill, 2017).

However,since you arestudying studentsand notjustcounting them,these methods may require approval from your institution’s Institutional Review Board(IRB)orequivalentbodyoverseeingresearch withhumansubjects.With these more invasive data collection methods, the ethical and privacy issues involved in collecting, storing, using, and disseminating the data must be considered.

Surveys

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processcanbetime- andlabor-intensive,requiringdevelopingandadministering thesurvey,dataentryandcleaning,anddataanalysis.

InterviewsandFocusGroups

Interviewsandfocusgroupsallowyoutogatherinformationfromaselectgroup of students on theiruse of spaces inyourlibrary, as well as their ideasabout those spaces.The benefits of interviews or focus groups is you can ask open-ended questions, probing questions, and follow-up questions to get a very complete story of your spaces. Downsides include the challenge of recruiting studentsto intervieworparticipate inyourfocus groups,the necessity of tran-scribingtheproceedings,andthe complexityofcoding,classifying,and analyz-ingthedatayoucollect.

BenefitsandCosts

The benefits oftaking adeeper diveinto theminds of yourstudents includea rich understanding of how your students use the spaces. Surveyingand inter-viewing students abouttheir use of spaces helps you find out what they like, whattheyhate,and whattheyneed,alongwithdemographicsaboutthosewho use your spaces.Downsides to these morecomplex methodsare challenges in data collection,storage, cleanup,and analysis, aswell as the possibleneedfor IRB approval. The more complex data analysis might be beyond your staff’s abilities. Time spent on the wholeprocess islonger, solabor costsare higher. Whileyoumaynotpayforthelaborofyourstaffandfacultydirectly,thereare opportunity costs toconsider. Whentheyareworking on the assessment,they can’tworkonotherprojects.

Ultimately your goal is to learn three things about your existing library spaces:(1)whattypesofspacesyoucurrentlyhave,(2)howtheyareused,and (3)whattypesofspacesyouneedtosupportentrepreneurs.

MIND

THE

GAP

ANALYZING

WHAT

SPACES

YOU

HAVE

Havingcompletedyourlibrary’sspaceassessmentandcompiledalistofspaces, youarereadytodeterminewhichspacesyouneedtoadd.

Ifyour library hasthe six spaceshelpful toentrepreneurs listed inTable 1, yournextstepsaretomakesuretheyarewellusedandwellpublicizedtoyour entrepreneurialstudents.You mightconsidergatheringinformationviasweeps to determine whichspaces are under- or overused, then plan to expand those spacesoverflowingwithstudents.Promotingunderusedspacestolibraryvisitors mayboosttheuseofthoseareas.

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MAKERSPACES

LegoBucketsandTables

Lottsbroughtmakingintoheracademiclibraryonashoestringbudgetbyusing Lego blocks (Lotts, 2015). Sheset outbuckets ofLegoson tablesand encour-aged creativity by having various contests and activities. These contests and eventsincludedLegocoloringcontests, workshops,freshmanevents,and colla-borationswithRutger’sLandscapeArchitecturedepartment.Encouraging crea-tivity and making in your library does not always require lasers and power tools.Bringinginopportunitiesforstudentsto workwiththeirhandsto create thingsisimportanttotheirentrepreneurialexperience.

PopUpCreativeSpaces

Think broadly in terms of experimenting, tinkering, and creating spaces. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo hosts a twice-a-month event, Watercolor Wednesday, wherestudentscandrop inandpaintanythingtheywant. Thelibrary supplies brushes, paints, water, and paper. This event, hosted by librarian Jesse Vestermark, encourages our STEM students to be creative in other ways. Althoughthesecreativespacesarenotpermanent,theycanhelpstudents experi-ment, becreative, and explore differentideas. Otherideas forpop up creative spacesincludingmakingholidaycardsandpolynomiography,theartofcreating polynominals(Lotts, 2015).UniversityofSanDiego’sGeiselLibraryoffers de-stress events with sandboxesof kinetic sand to playin, coloring books, and a craftsclub(De-stress Activities, 2018).

OUTDOOR

SPACES

AND

GREEN

SPACES

Natural environments, particularlyviews of limitlessness and openness, stimu-latecreativity(McCoy & Evans, 2010).PlambechandvandenBosch’sstudyof theimpactofnatureoncreativityreportsthatnaturalenvironmentsare particu-larlyhelpfulintheearlystagesofcreativity:thepreparationphasewherepeople learn, research, and generate ideas, and the incubation phase, where people ruminate over the idea (Plambech & van den Bosch, 2015). Of the six spaces thatfosterentrepreneurs,naturalandgreenspacesmaybethehardesttoaddto anexistinglibrary.Ourlibraryhasalovelytree-filledgardenwithlotsofseating and a mild and dry climate that allows for year-round use. But your library mightnotbeequippedwitharelaxing,nature-filledspace.Howcanyoubringa bit of natureto studentswho needgreenspaces to fostertheirentrepreneurial thoughtsandbehaviors?

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Indoor fountains, whilenot cheap,can add natural sounds to yourlibrary. Watersoundscombinedwithgreenerycanmimicnatureandgiveyourstudents thesenseofbeingoutdoors.

Living walls are indoor or outdoor walls covered with plants. They bring natureindoorsand canimprovethe airqualityofyourlibrary.The University of Maryland’s McKeldinLibraryreceiveda $30,000grant tobuildaninternal livingwallintheirlibrary.Othersuccessfulexamplesoflivingwallsinacademic libraries include Centennial College in Toronto, Mohawk College inOntario, Canada,andtheHarvardGraduateSchoolofEducationLibrary.

COLLABORATION

SPACES

Collaboration spacesare spacesfortwo or morestudents to workon projects together. Collaboration spaces can also have three walls a backwall for a whiteboardand two sidewalls and opento ahallway.Collaborationspaces canhavejustonewall,a“backwall”forthewhiteboard,withatableandchairs positionedunderthewhiteboard.Thesewall-lesscollaborationspacesareeasily created on a long wall.Of course, these open collaboration spaces cannot be located in quiet zones. Collaboration spaces can be actual rooms with four walls,withoneormoreglasswallsdoublingaswriteablespace.

Alternatively,collaboration spacesareinformallycreatedusinglargerolling whiteboards tocreatetemporarydefinedspaceforgroup work.Less expensive than floor-to-ceiling walls, collaboration spaces can be made using sofas with tallbacks,configuredinasquareorhorseshoeshape.Indoorpottedplantscan beusedtowalloffspacesforcollaborations.

COMMUNAL

TABLES

Communaltables,thosewhichseat upto 20students, canbereadilyadded to large open spaces within a library. Smaller tables seating six students can be mixed inwithother seatingtoallowforstudentinteraction,collaboration,and networking.Whenplacingcommunaltablesinquietstudyareas,itishelpfulto restrict thesizeto seatfouror fewerstudents, inorder tokeepthe noiselevels downwhenstudentsworktogetherinthosespaces.

SOLO

SPACES

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CASE

STUDY

Totestthe processof assessingspacesandgapanalysis,I studiedanother aca-demiclibrary.

This public research university is located on a 1,000-acre site with over 24,000students.Aneight-storylibraryoncampusservestheentirestudent pop-ulation.Thereisalsoasmallmusiclibrary,locatedinaseparatebuilding,which wasnotexamined.

The full analysis required three steps: examining floor plans, studying the library’s web pages for descriptions of their spaces,and visiting the library to confirmexistingspaces.

I examined the library’s floor plans to determine which of the six types of spacesthelibraryhasavailable.However,thefloorplansdidnotincludethe fur-nitureinthespaces.Thus,theplansdidnotindicatehoweachareawasdesigned tobeused:byindividualsorgroups,quietlyornoisily.Lookingatthelibrary’s website,Ifoundspecificpagesthatmappedthelocationsofstudyspaces,group studyareas,computerlabs,andquietstudyfloors.Thesepagesgavemeamore detailedpictureofthediversespacesavailabletostudents.Ifollowedupwitha sitevisittocomparethefloorplansandwebsitewiththeactualspace.

CollaborationSpaces

Well-designedcollaborationspacesaremostlyonthelowerandnoisierfloorsof the library, mostly on the first through fourth floors. The library offers four types of collaboration spaces:walled-in spaces;glassed-incollaboration rooms withwhiteboards, designedforlargergroupsofupto 10students;three-walled collaboration rooms; and “wall-less collaboration spaces.” There are three-walled collaboration “rooms” which have a back wall for a whiteboard, two sidewallsforabitofnoisecontrol,acoupleofchairsandadesk,butnofourth wall.Thesethree-walledcollaborationspacesarelocatedalongahallway.There arealso a number of “wall-less” collaborationspaces. The most interesting of these spaces mimics a glassed-in collaboration space but with only one wall. These unusual collaboration spaces arelocated in anopen, noisier area, on a longwall.Fourlargewhiteboardsareseparatedbyafewfeet.Beloweach white-boardisaroundtableandfourchairs.

CommunalTables

Communal tables are located in both the noisy and quiet study areas. The library offersa widerange of table types, rangingfrom 4-persontables to 10-persontables.Inthe quietstudy area,the largest tableseatssix students,most likelytominimizenoisefromgroupwork.

ComputerLab

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Adjacenttothecomputerlab,studentscancollaborateusingoneofnine work-stationsconnected to32″4Kmonitors.Theseworkstationshave afullsuiteof spatial,statistical,andmediacreationsoftware.

GreenSpaces

Therearecurrentlynogreenspaceswithinthelibrary.

Makerspace

Therearenomakerspacesorspacesdesignedforcreativitycurrentlywithinthe library.

SoloSpace

Solo study spaces are located throughout the library, inboth noisy and quiet studyareas.Solospacescomeinawidevarietyofforms, asdeterminedbythe furniture.Carrelsarelocatedthroughoutthelibrary:inthe microficheand gov-ernmentdocumentsarea,alongwindowsattheendofbookstacks,andjust out-sidetheelevatorsinthelobbyofeachofthequietstudyfloors.Oneuniqueway ofprovidingsolostudyareas,andtousewallandcirculationspace,istoplacea shallowbutlong deskfacing thewall, alongwith appropriatelynarrow chairs. Inhallways,singlehigh-backedchairswithdesksallowforsolostudying.Inone interestingsolospace,therearetwo“egg”chairs.Theseegg-shapedchairsblock outabout270degreesofnoiseandvision.Whenyousitinoneofthesechairs,it ismuchquieter,andyourfieldofvisionisnarrowedsothatyouonlyseedirectly infrontofyou.Smallfootrestsallowforamorerelaxedposture.

ASSESSMENT

OF

SPACES

Thislibraryhaswell-designedspacesforfosteringentrepreneurship.Itcurrently hasfouroutofthe sixspaceshelpful forentrepreneurs (Table 2):collaboration spaces,communaltables,acomputerlab, and solospaces.Therearecurrently no makerspaces or equivalents where students can experiment or tinker. This libraryalsolacksanytypeofgreenspacewherestudentscanreflect,relax, and restorethemselves.

Table2. CaseStudyInventoryofSpaces:February10,2018.

TheSixSpaces WhatTheyHave WhatTheyNeed

Collaborationspace X

Communaltables X

Computerlab X

Greenspace X

Makerspace X

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Iscoutedtheexteriorofthebuildingtoseeifthelibrarycouldincorporateor “borrow”outsidespacesforstudentstouseforreflection,relaxation,and resto-ration. An interesting form of concrete bench, incorporated directly onto the wall of the building, allows students to study outside but still use the library building.Directlyoutsidethe24/7studyareaareumbrella-coveredmetaltables, designed for either solo or collaboration work, usable throughout the year. Benchesand otherseatingdirectlyoutsidethelibrarycouldbeusedbystudents forthoseactivities.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The library could usetwo additionaltypes of spacesto help fosterinnovation andcreativityintheirvisitors:greenspacesandatypeofmakerspace.

The library could add a green space in a few ways. One relatively cheap optionistoaddpottedplantstothelargecoveredbalconyonthe secondfloor. Two other uncoveredbalconieson the secondand fourthfloorcouldalso add pottedplantstoprovidestudentswithanature-filledbreak.Addingalivingwall inthe two-storyentrancewaywould beamoreexpensive optionto add nature tothebuilding.

Addingadigitalmakerspacetothelibrarywouldbeanidealandinexpensive way toadd aspaceforcreating withinthe library.Adigital makerspacecould

fitinto the microforms area,located on the noisier secondfloor,a shortwalk fromthelearningcommons.Themicroformscouldbemovedtooff-sitestorage.

CONCLUSION

AND

CALL

TO

ACTION

To fosterentrepreneurs inyourlibrary, you must addressthe diverseneeds of yourstudents:tocollaborate,torestoreandrelax,toquietlythinkandreflect,to experiment and tinker, and to be creative. Previous research has shown a numberof spacesareconducive tocreatingstudententrepreneurs (Bieraugel & Neill, 2017). Academic libraries shouldassess whichof thesespaces theyhave andwhichtheyaremissing.Inaddition,itisimportanttopromoteyourunique spaces so that students know what options they have when choosing where togo.

Theeasiestmethod todeterminewhatspacesyouhaveandwhatspacesyou need is to study your floor plan and then walk through your library, taking photos of each of the spaces. Next, note potential spaces for adding in new spaces. The case study shows how easy it is to do that. The assessment and recommendationswerecompletedinaday.Bytakingphotosyouseethespaces astheyreallyare,nothowyoumightrememberthem.

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oracomputerlabavailable.Whentheyneedtobecreative,tomakeandtinker, makesureyouhaveaspaceforthemtodoso.Dotheyneedabreak,torestore andreflect?Haveagreenspacereadyforthem.Bycreatingnewspacesin librar-ies, you engage students in new ways and help them to think differently and better.

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