One of the features of the libraries at Gloucestershire College (well the Gloucester and Royal Forest of Dean campuses) is that we have sofas in the library.
I have been asked a few times why do I have sofas in the library when the library is a learning environment?
I would ask then, where is it written down that learning has to be uncomfortable? Where is the rulebook that states learners should sit at desks on hard chairs? Is it not possible for a learner to learn whilst sitting on a sofa? Why can’t a learning environment be enticing, comfortable and even a little bit social?
What myself and the Learning Resources team have created in the Library space is a learning environment that will encourage a range of learning activities, from group work, individual activity on a computer, individual study and importantly places for reflection and for reading. The sofas are part of the environment that recognises that individuals do different things for their learning, they learn in different ways at different times, and as a result we need to provide an environment that meets these different needs.
Sofas in the library is not about turning the library into a social area, it’s about creating an environment for learning that meets the diverse needs of our learners who will want to learn in different ways at different times; the end result is learners who achieve their qualificational goal.