GA-PCOM opened in 2005 with only one program Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine [DO], 75 students, and eight faculty. The Information Commons, which houses the library, computer labs, and study space, had two employees, a library manager and a library assistant. Eleven years later, the number of programs has increased to four DO, Doctor of Pharmacy [PharmD], Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences [MS], and Physician Assistant Program [PA]; a Physical Therapy PT program is planned to begin in approximately two years. The number of students has increased by 1,410% to 1,133 and the number of faculty have increased by 787.5% to 71. Library staff have increased from two to six people with an assistant director, systems and emerging technologies librarian, educational resources librarian, library specialist, and two library assistants; an information technology services ITS employee also has an office in the Information Commons. Despite this growth, the Information Commons space has remained the same size, with some renovations made to increase the number of study carrels and tables. Library staff space was decreased by almost half to create four additional study rooms for student use. No space planning has been completed to reevaluate how the Information Commons should be reconfigured for optimal student, faculty, and library staff use. For this reason, it is essential that a needs assessment be completed to determine how the space can be utilized to increase student and faculty use and have appropriate space for library staff. Libraries, and in this case the entire Information Commons, must ensure that students and faculty want to use the space and seek the services of library staff. Designing a space meant for collaboration and interprofessional education in mind will help drive this use; Incorporating student and faculty preferences into space planning and when deciding what technology is needed within the Information Commons is key to ensuring use of space.
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Georgia Campus