Just over a year and a half ago we moved out. Mysterious things happened (ie. a renovation). Almost a month ago, we moved back. At that point in time, there were still places that looked a lot like this.
And somehow, miracle of miracles, today, we opened to the public. There’s a bunch of press about it, but I thought some might like to get a sense of the unofficial, completely my own personal point-of-view, behind the scenes view. Especially other medical librarians!
The space is, as my colleagues describe it, “BEAUTIFUL!” I confess, we were a little worried when the color scheme was described as, “Aggressively neutral with black and yellow accents,” but it absolutely works. The space is bright with light and color, cozy with comforting nooks and crannies, and deliciously modern to the minute with tech. Here are some of my favorite highlights (which are likely to be rather different from what excites the popular press).
VIDEO & PODCAST RECORDING STUDIO
I love that there is a video studio, complete with backdrops, green screen, audio and video equipment, computers, editing software, and so forth. I’m very excited to see what comes from this, and equally proud of Anne Perorazio who has reinvented herself as our local video expert through a great deal of passion and practice and study.
I am hoping that there will be times when I find time to expand my own skills in this area, and am hoping for some tutorials and training sessions to be forthcoming. My understanding is that the studio has already been in use!
ACCESSIBILITY & SIT-STAND TABLES
I could hardly contain myself when I realized there were sit-stand tables for public use. Not just one, but FOUR! FOUR sit-stand tables, one at each corner of the public computing areas. I bet these are going to be popular. That level of attention to accessibility issues in the design is just thrilling to me. Here is what the sit stand tables look like in context, both at an elevated height and at the same height as the rest of the tables.
USB & POWER EVERYWHERE
One rule of designing for tech is, until we have safe & ubiquitous wireless charging, there is no such thing too much power. Not talking superhero or political power, but power to charge our electronic devices. I was so delighted to see not just electrical power, but also USB chargers, and these are at almost every seat in the entire library. We’re talking hundreds of outlets and phone chargers. HUNDREDS. Yowza. I am blown away. There are also Ethernet jacks in the public space, and other features that are designed to make the tech environment as seamless and powerful as possible. See the official details for more info on this.
MULTI-PURPOSE ROOM WITH TELECONFERENCING
The new multipurpose room is very flexible, and can be redesigned for a wide range of uses, but what I’m excited about is all the teleconferencing capability that keeps being mentioned. I’ve heard rumors that this may even include satellite connections. I’m hoping it’s true, and looking forward to being able to attend events here that used to have me running all over campus.
MLive: The University Of Michigan’s New Virtual Cadaver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U372pSI47I
OK, OK, yes, everyone in the press is geeking out over the Anatomage for “virtual dissection.” I would be remiss in some sense if I didn’t mention it, however what excites me about is, again, likely to be a little different from what other folk are thinking. My background, before coming to UM, involved supporting multimedia for medical and dental education. I’ve been tracking the Virtual Human project and uses of its data for a very long time. Decades. Really. I’ve seen programs and tools and resources developed around the data to try to make it useful for teaching, learning, and research. By and large most of the failed, and for the same reasons. They repackaged the basic data, added very little content, and called it cool. The Anatomage is different.
What makes it different? Customization. The ability to add your own data, your own labels, to expand data sets and enrich the content. The other thing that makes it pretty cool is the ease and flexibility of exporting images from the device. This is what I’ve been waiting for.
Here you can see some of the labeling (which again, can be customized), and the extreme responsiveness of the touchscreen manipulation. Chase Masters is demonstrating this with his tie. Any kind of touch works to interact with the device. And Chase deserves a big shoutout for all the work he’s done learning about working with the Anatomage, building community of practice around it, incorporating it into instructional design and specific course, and so very much more.
The Anatomage is super popular. So far, if I walk out into the main part of the library, there is always someone using it. I am deeply impressed that the Anatomage is being made available for use by the public, and not just locked away for use by medical students. It has a lot of potential for working with outreach, patients, and more. I am very hopeful about ways in which it can change lives of regular folk as well as supporting and enriching medical education.
I HAVE A WINDOW
OK, this is just for me. I have a window. I’ve never had a window before. I must say, I really do like it.
Key features of the new Taubman Health Sciences Library:
* It stands on the site where U-M’s second hospital began taking patients in 1891 – one year after the Medical School adopted a then-revolutionary four-year curriculum.
* Learning spaces are spread over five levels of the building – two below street level.
* Learning technologies include a large touch-screen table for exploring human anatomy virtually, and facilities for teleconferencing and computer-based testing.
* The Clinical Skills Suite includes 30 realistic patient care rooms complete with simulated medical technology, and facilities for the trained medical actors – called “standardized patients” and actual patients who help medical students learn and test hands-on skills.
* In addition to the library, the entrance level includes a new café with coffee and light fare.
* A medical student lounge offers kitchen facilities and entertainment options.
* An all-glass exterior of nearly 18,000 square feet of low-e glass replaced the former windowless brick walls on all sides of the building, providing natural illumination
* About 6,000 square feet were added in the renovation, including a monumental staircase.
* A wide array of “green building” features make the building eligible for Gold LEED status, a measure of environmentally conscious facility construction and operation.
* The building has indoor connections on several levels to other Medical School buildings.
* Construction teams used 1,700 tons of concrete, recycled 1,780 tons of material, and installed more than 67 miles of data cable and 2,011 data jacks.
A grand space for learning: U-M reopens Taubman Health Sciences Library after $55M metamorphosis http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/archive/201508/grand-space-learning-u-m-reopens-taubman-health-sciences
Crain’s Detroit Business: Transformed UM library reopens after two years http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20150802/NEWS/150809996/transformed-um-library-reopens-after-two-years
Detroit Business: U-M’s Taubman Health Sciences Library Reopens After $55M Renovation http://www.dbusiness.com/November-December-2015/U-Ms-Taubman-Health-Sciences-Library-Reopens-After-55M-Renovation/
See U-M Medical School’s new 3-D virtual cadaver http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/08/see_u-m_medical_schools_new_vi.html
University of Michigan unveils state of the art medical library http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/08/university_of_michigan_unveils_2.html
UM Libraries: Taubman Health Sciences Library: http://www.lib.umich.edu/thl
UMMS: A. Alfred Taubman Health Sciences Library http://medicine.umich.edu/medschool/about/facilities/alfred-taubman-health-sciences-library