Changing the dialogue: the story of the award-winning Alan Gilbert learning commons
Through the creation of the award-winning Alan Gilbert Learning Commons (AGLC), the University of Manchester Library has changed its dialogue with students. This has transformed the relationship into a partnership with both parties taking an active responsibility for learning. This chapter will trace the journey of the AGLC against the context of traditional library models of interaction with students. It will illustrate the process through which students became critical to the building’s success, resulting in a model that is aspired to by future developments at the University of Manchester and beyond. This model not only requires observation from within learning spaces in regard to how students are using them, but it also necessitates an ongoing dialogue that enables students to participate in the co-creation of such spaces from the earliest stages. We will show how the student voice resonates throughout the AGLC itself and is prevalent in all services operating within; it is at the forefront of everything we do. We will demonstrate that a partnership with students is vital to the successful development of new learning spaces, as only by nurturing a collective responsibility for learning can a space be dynamic in both a holistic and practical way.