Rutgers Digital Learning Center at Alexander Library

The digital learning center within the Alexander Library is a state-of-the-art, multimedia collaboration center – the largest gathering space available to students at Rutgers’ New Brunswick, aside from cafeteria and gymnasiums spaces. It’s packed with design features and tools that students have requested:

• A large, glassed-off “pitch room” is designed for large-group collaboration and informal presentations.
• A pair of “one-button studios” have cameras, microphones, lights, and greenscreens set up in advance so students can capture professional-quality audio and video presentations with the touch of a single button.
• An audio-recording booth allows up to four users produce professional-grade sound for podcasts, voice-over work, and other similar projects.
• The information desk has both library staff and computer lab consultants.
• The 12-seat conference room includes a motion-tracking camera so speakers can move freely about the meeting space.
• Breakout rooms allow for small groups to meet privately, and students have the ability to reserve these spaces in advance.
• Private office space is available for consultations with either reference librarians or the Rutgers Office of Disability Services.

This space occupies a room with high ceilings that stretch the full depth of the Alexander Library. Oversize windows line three sides of the room, moveable partitions that allow students to make semi-private meeting areas are located in nearly any part of the space, Wi-Fi printing is available from any part of the facility, and mobile whiteboards and video monitors are in all meeting rooms, which provide a high-tech way to share ideas.

The entire facility was designed in consultation with the Office of Disability Services to be accessible to the broadest possible array of users. For example, the height-adjustable desks can easily accommodate wheelchair users.

Another design emphasis was combining cutting-edge technology with ease-of-use, and the one-button studios are a good illustration of the principle. They let users record high-quality presentations without worrying about the intricacies of setting up audio or lighting. Users literally press a single button, give a presentation, and receive an electronic copy that’s perfectly lit and recorded.

The Digital Learning Center is the product of a vast, collaborate effort among Rutgers University Libraries, the Office of Information Technology, the Office of Disability Services, Rutgers Institutional Planning and Operations, and the New Brunswick Chancellor’s Office.