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Turning the library into an e-learning center

By Dr. Aree Thunkijjanukij, Kasetsart University Library | June 01, 2011

A blend of high-tech and homey at the KULC.

One might argue that the first step in marketing is to consider the needs and wants of customers and then create a product, service or place that addresses those needs and wants. At Kasetsart University Library we did just that, looking at learning in the context of a digital generation of students and responding with a new place designed to support their learning. We converted an existing traditional library space into the Kasetsart University Learning Center (KULC), an environment that attracts students and focuses on e-learning.

KULC provides access to print and electronic resources and individual services from trained librarians, information specialists, and IT staff. Group discussion areas are designed to bring people together for collaborative outcomes. Quiet study space, such as Research Square, which is reserved for postgraduate students, provides the opportunity for individual pursuits. Students interested in furthering their language skills can sign up for literacy programs and access a language learning lab.

Our digital collections include regional resources, such as the Thai AGRIS, Thai Rice, Para Rubber, and Self Sufficient Economy databases. We guide users through the wilderness of cyberspace to find relevant and reliable digital material within these and other databases.

To promote resource usage, KULC launched “Click Here for More Info.” KULC staff set up a booth at the main library and in different faculties such as Agro-Industry, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, and Forestry and Fisheries. More than 700 students participated in events to teach and enhance discovery skills, including organized database searching competitions and a ScienceDirect Online Books Quiz with prizes from Elsevier.

In addition to meeting student and faculty research needs, we offer a host of extras to enhance campus life. An Edutainment Zone includes a mini-theater and theater, where we encourage students to have fun while learning English. At the mini-theater, groups of five or more students can select a program, while the theater hosts a regular series at noon, Monday through Friday. Library staff create exhibits that reflect hot and seasonal topics, such as global warming and energy savings, Valentine's Day, and Thailand National Love Reading Day.

Kasetsart means “Knowledge of Land,” and the University Library reflects that commitment with a formal Memorandum of Understanding to support the information needs of Thai government agencies related to agriculture, such as the Rice Department. Our many activities and new learning center help support and enhance e-learning within the academic community and further afield.