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The Graduate Resource Centre (GRC) at The University of Western Ontario (Western) is a special library independently operated by the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS). Exclusively serving the communities of FIMS four graduate programs – Journalism, Media Studies, Library and Information Science and Popular Music and Culture – the GRC has a well-established and longstanding tradition of supporting teaching and learning excellence at FIMS.

As Western’s youngest and fastest growing Faculty, FIMS quickly outgrew its existing space on campus. Plans to relocate the entire Faculty, including its in-house library and information centre, are now underway. The University has earmarked a much larger building on campus for FIMS and the Faculty is now next in line for new space.

With this pending move on the horizon comes an opportunity for the Faculty to reconsider not only the physical design of the GRC, but also its existing service model. Is a learning commons a possibility? A Faculty-wide needs assessment will help determine the answer.

In this session, conference delegates will hear about the forming stages of planning FIMS’ new library and information facility as the GRC sets out this exciting journey. Attendees will hear about the collaborative approach used to ground decision making in evidence-based research, where students in all three sections of a mandatory LIS research methods course responded to a request for proposals from the GRC. Methodologies adopted for the needs assessment, as well as preliminary research results, will also be shared.


Peer-reviewed presentation delivered at the fifth annual Canadian Learning Commons Conference, CLCC5, Queen's University (Kingston, ON), Thursday, 17 June 2010.



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