The Virtual Reading Room says goodbye.
At the end of the spring semester 2021, we discontinued the operation of the Virtual Reading Room. We tried to bring the library learning space into the digital world during the Corona pandemic and the renovation of the library building. However, the demand was not as we hoped, so we are ending this experiment for the time being.
What lessons can we take away?
Even though we did not manage to reach our whole potential user community, we do not regret the experiment. We dared to do something new, we implemented it quickly, we adapted it, and we gained some valuable insights. The most important conclusion we can draw from our experiences is that a physical learning environment in the library is still very much needed. Other relevant insights are the following:
- The idea was received positively across the board and students did use the virtual reading room.
- The user numbers were higher in spring 2020 when stricter pandemic measures (lockdown, home office) were in place than during 2021.
- Filming yourself with a camera while studying takes some getting used to, and for most of us this is probably still an unfamiliar situation.
- We never reached a critical mass of users who were in the Virtual Reading Room at the same time, and who could motivate newcomers to stay there as well. For this reason, it would make more sense in the future to operate a virtual reading room at fixed times instead of opening it all day long.
An interesting project
We would like to thank Dr. Dana Sindermann from the Institute for Business Ethics IWE for the initial suggestion. We are very grateful for the support of the students at the Info Desk, theCO, the SHSG and prisma.
The initial idea, the implementation and our experiences have also met with interest in the wider library world:
- We were allowed to present our project in the German workshop "dini - Mit Abstand mehr gelernt".
- We have received various enquiries from other libraries into the project.
- In summer 2021, we were allowed to present the Virtual Reading Room and our experience at the German Librarians' Day in Bremen.