What does Van Wylen Library, an ACRL award winning library have to do with Third Place? Hopefully, everything!
Van Wylen Library is a place for students, faculty and staff to mix, mingle and be. Be studious. Be relaxed. Be alone. Be with others. Be talkative. Be quiet. We are more than a library – we’re a meeting place. The library can be a place to get away from the dorm room, the department, even the classroom. (shhhhh!) Van Wylen as your Third Place on campus provides a social, or private, working environment away from your First Place, home, and your Second Place, work. The concept of the Third Place was developed by Ray Oldenburg in his book The Great Good Place. His theory and model for the Third Place has been seized by bookstores and coffee shops and used very successfully.
At Hope, Van Wylen Library embodies this idea, providing big comfy chairs for reading and large tables for collaboration. The Cup & Chaucer coffee spot offers a variety of beverages and snacks and a place to relax with friends or work on projects. The entire building has wireless access for Hope patrons and is full of areas where you can work individually or in a group setting.
Ray Oldenburg stresses there is a need for an informal public place where the physical environment reflects and shapes the actions within. Van Wylen Library is a place of individual and collaborative learning and a center for intellectual and cultural life. In the midst of community and interaction, you can easily find peace and quiet.
Let Van Wylen Library be your Third Place.
-- Carla Kaminski, Circulation Supervisor