This year’s incoming class of Teachers College students were the first to experience the library’s new Smith Learning Theater during orientation. The Learning Theater, which opened to the public in October 2017, is a renovated 6000 square foot space on the fourth floor of the Teachers College library that hosts experiential and innovative learning, teaching, and research activities year-round. Library staff welcomed new students to the space in three different sessions to learn about library services and the unique aspects of the Learning Theater.
As Brian Hughes, Director of Library Services at TC, says, the goal of this year’s library orientation was to curate a conversational and experiential introduction that would be more active than typical orientation presentations. Dozens of new students attended each session, and as they gathered in this mysterious new space, the lights dimmed, and an introductory video was projected onto seven gigantic screens positioned throughout the space. Students were then invited to explore the open area, populated with comfy seats, whiteboards, snacks, and library staff members eager to answer questions.
Also on prominent display at the event was the library’s new app, available for download on iOS and Android. Released earlier this year, the app helps students keep track of checked-out books, search for titles, and reserve study rooms, among other things.
Hughes hopes this library introduction inspires incoming students to think about how they could use the flexibility of the architecture and technology for their own academic projects and events, and to apply for the Learning Theater student grant award. The most innovative proposals will receive library support to make the event a reality.