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Waite Library & Learning Commons, University of Minnesota, U.S.A.
by Linda Eells

Waite Library & Learning Commons (Waite LLC) is a specialized library devoted to serving the research, teaching, and outreach needs of the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, a public land grant research institution with nearly 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The department is home to 37 full-time faculty, 100 graduate students, and 150 undergraduates.
Waite LLC occupies a prime spot directly across from the departmental main office and was recently completely transformed from a small, packed-to-the-rafters (with tall stacks of books) library:

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(Waite stacks before remodeling)

into a vibrant, inviting community center with space for individual or group work and collaborative interactions between students, faculty, and staff:

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(Waite stacks area after remodeling)

To create space for people and collaborative activities, we reduced the amount of print material in the library from 1,200 linear feet to just over 400 feet. With an entire wall of large windows overlooking the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus green, we offer a great view and natural lighting. Also critical to the success of the library (based on feedback from students and faculty!) are a coffee corner, white board, and large screen monitor for collaborative projects.
Today the completely remodeled Waite Library and Learning Commons features:

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This open, bright, and welcoming space now hosts the monthly Grad Club Happy Hour, all departmental TA sessions, baby showers, department and college receptions, chili cook-offs, faculty-student meetings, and individual and group study. Previously visited by at most a few students a day, we now welcome dozens of students and faculty members daily.
In addition to the physical amenities and services offered by Waite LLC, we manage (in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Libraries) one of the most successful subject repositories in the world, the small but popular AgEcon Search. Initiated in 1995 with just 50 papers, AgEcon Search now serves as the permanent (and growing) home of over 110,000 free, full-text papers from 250 institutions around the world.

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The repository receives 15,000 unique visits daily from researchers in over 160 countries accessing conference presentations, working papers, journal articles, government documents, and theses and dissertations. Several small journals hosted in AgEcon Search are now included in the TEEAL project managed by the Albert R. Mann Library at Cornell University, thus reaching researchers in areas of the world with low bandwidth and/or with limited access to the more formal research literature.
It is a privilege and pleasure to manage vibrant physical and virtual collaborative spaces for the international agricultural and applied economics community. Please visit us next time you are in the Minneapolis-St. Paul (Twin Cities) area!

Copyright 2017 by Linda Eells

About the author:

Linda Eells has been a librarian at the University of Minnesota since 2003, providing research and instruction services in support of many subject areas, most recently applied economics but previously including environment, ecology, forest resources, fisheries, wildlife, entomology, and conservation biology. Her research interests include open access publishing models and repository development and management. Linda holds a MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a M.S. in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Her email address is lle@umn.edu