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Q&A | Fostering research community through library spaces and services at The Ohio State University Research Commons

By Meris Mandernach, The Ohio State University | Apr 27, 2016

The Ohio State University Research Commons

On March 31, 2016, Meris presented at the Library Connect webinar “Fostering research community through library spaces and services” on the space, services and promotion of The Ohio State University’s new Research Commons. Meris is an Associate Professor and Head of Research Services at the OSU University Libraries. Due to the volume of questions, she did not have time to respond to all questions during the webinar. Meris has kindly provided additional responses below.



How do you manage space for researchers?


Currently researchers are able to reserve rooms up to one week in advance; they are also able to make same-day reservations. They can book the project rooms themselves for five-hour chunks once per day. If they want another space in the Research Commons, they can email the Research Commons up to two months in advance and reserve the brainstorming, visualization, computer lab or classroom spaces.



OSU Research Commons Workshop SeriesDid you try to determine the best time of the semester/week/day to hold your workshops before scheduling them?


We have done a little bit of this. We plan to take a deep dive into our first semester statistics this summer. The current workshop schedule was shaped around previous semester statistics and would likely be a good indicator of times that work for researchers at Ohio State. See our events schedule



Do you supply any technology for people attending the Research Commons workshops, or do you expect people to bring their own laptops, etc.?


It’s a mixture. We have some hands-on classes, but others are bring your own devices (BYOD). For those that are BYOD, we do not provide laptops.



Do you have any other tips to increase attendance (i.e., reduce no-shows) by those who register, especially grad students?


We have tried a couple of different tactics for ensuring higher participation. We require that folks register in advance. However, we do take walk-ins as space allows. For those that register, we send a reminder a week in advance and a couple of days in advance, and then a follow-up email afterwards. The closer the reminder, the greater the chance at higher attendance. We have had some success reaching out to faculty who want their entire lab group to attend a session and those are nearly at 100 percent attendance.



Did you hire additional staff to provide these services or did you restructure current staff responsibilities?


We were able to hire additional staff rather than restructure current staff responsibilities. Some staff were existing, but their job responsibilities didn’t change; they now offer those same services in a new location.



Have any of the strategies implemented been affected by library budget cuts, especially as it relates to redesigning physical spaces and acquiring new hires. If so how was this dealt with?


We weren’t impacted by library budget cuts. We were limited a little in the type of furniture we provided due to limited budgets. However, money had been set aside for renovating library spaces and an additional donation covered a feasibility study for the space. 



Can you share a link to the Ohio State infographic on the research pillars?


Link to PDF.

The Ohio State University University Libraries Suporting the Research Lifecycle