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ANT 120 Library Paper

ANT 120 Library Paper - O'Brien ANT 110 12 May 2007 A...

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O’Brien ANT 110 12 May 2007 A Cultural Geography of the Grace Doherty Library at Centre College The image of a traditional library is one of dusty books, of quiet, focused and self- quarantined students chasing an elusive A. Topped off by cranky librarians and ancient computers, the typical library is meant to foster learning and individual success. But, as most Centre students know, things at our school tend to not follow any kind of tradition. Our Grace Doherty library, located at the social center of campus, is hardly an exception to that rule. Walking into the newly renovated, brick-and-white building, the front foyer is usually a hub of activity where students and teachers are in constant motion, going up to classrooms and offices, or into the library itself. Student workers who balance studying with their job man the front desk and reference stations and these areas are usually the most social and talkative section. We decided to study the areas past this central hub, further into the stacks of books and on the different floors. Our first recording of the social of the library was participant-free. We sat and watched the types of activities in certain areas of the library, how people interacted and how they studied for fifteen minutes. This was done in order to get a good grasp of the social environment of the library in order to move to the next stage of our research. Using the information gathered through pure observation, we were able to formulate a ‘social map’ that highlighted the most and least social areas. After our basic knowledge was established, we moved to participant interviews. Our three case studies covered the general types of students at Centre. Our first was the student who used the library everyday, both as a social and academic tool. The second was a student who never used 1
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O’Brien the library and thought it was a useless space. The third student used the library often, but preferred the seclusion of a private desk or corner, in contrast to the first case study who sat in an area of high social interaction. After the case studies, we randomly selected
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