Beginning in 2004, there were suggestions about rethinking the use of the UCSF library space, both as a way to address the increasing pressure for classrooms and the recognition that digitization could potentially open up library space. As a first step, the school of medicine commissioned the original library architect to explore repurposing the top two floors of the library into classrooms. These floors were prime campus real estate, with commanding views and a meeting room used heavily for campus-wide functions. These plans did not go beyond the early planning stages due to lack of funding and concerns expressed by many on campus. At the same time, the need for dedicated education space gradually became more serious with increasing class sizes for the school of nursing and changes in teaching from large lecture halls to small classrooms. Additionally, the emergence of a campus strategic planning process provided an opportunity to consider the issues in a different framework. The strategic plan defined campus priorities for education, including (1) education of leaders in health care delivery and research and (2) interdisciplinary and interschool approaches in education [2
]. The emphasis on strategic planning resulted in a series of committees charged by the provost/executive vice chancellor to advise him on library space issues.
The process for decision making at UCSF grows out of the concept of shared governance, which calls for wide consultation on academic matters. Thus, the library space planning process included representatives from all the schools, members of the UCSF Academic Senate Library Committee, and library staff, with the university librarian serving as committee chair.
In 2005, an advisory committee on library space planning—consisting of faculty, staff, students, and library and campus planning staff—was tasked with examining the implications of repurposing library space for new functions. This committee collected data about space utilization, reviewed the current distribution of space by function, compared the UCSF library to peer institutions, conducted a student survey, and analyzed other campus surveys that commented on library programs and space. These findings are summarized in the committee's recommendations that emphasized the idea of the library as common space for use by the entire campus. A key recommendation was that “New functions proposed for the Library should give preference to those that broaden existing programs and allow for new partnership and collaboration with library staff and programs” [3
]. Outside consultants from the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) community were also engaged to assist with evaluating library space needs and to report on best practices. Their report recommended that the library consider converting some space to educational purposes, while ensuring that “the assignment of new functions should be consistent with the Library's core purpose, make optimum use of educational technologies, maintain the security of library resources, and allow flexibility to evolve to meet changing institutional needs” [4
In March 2006, a working group on library space planning was created to develop specific action items based on the earlier recommendations. The working group recommended repurposing 10,000 assignable square feet on the 2nd floor of the building, in space occupied by 117,000 bound journal volumes and study carrels.
While UCSF has reliably generated capital development and grant funds to support clinical care and research, funds for the education infrastructure have been a lower priority. New opportunities emerged in 2006 when California passed the Kindergarten–University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2006 (Proposition 1D) [5
]. Proposition 1D included funding for the program in medical education for the five University of California medical schools to support expanded patient care and clinical education to underserved populations in California. The program at UCSF, PRIME-US, targets urban, underserved populations by increasing medical student enrollment and training students in the use of telemedicine as a way to expand health care delivery to urban areas. UCSF's proposal was praised because it distributed the program to multiple teaching and clinical sites and included the repurposing of existing space, including the library. The other medical schools used their funds for new buildings. In addition, while PRIME-US is specifically a medical school program, UCSF envisioned an inclusive process in space and facilities design that would serve all professional school programs, including dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy.
Recommendations of the working group and its predecessor, the advisory committee on space planning, were consistent with the goals of the PRIME-US telemedicine program approved and funded by Proposition 1D. Following passage of the bond measure, a final planning group was convened in 2007 to develop priorities for using the space for new educational functions as recommended by the previous reports. In particular, they emphasized the recommendation from the consultants' report, “that innovative educational technologies be considered when planning changes to the library building, for their potential to enhance education services and spaces. Such technologies can help transform the library into a core education facility” [4
]. This committee urged that the space design also support interprofessional education [6
In late 2007, a formal planning process began to develop plans for a facility utilizing library space that met the needs of the PRIME-US telemedicine program and addressed campus needs for education space. Initial recommendations specified redesigning approximately 10,000 square feet of the library's second floor, about 40% of the entire floor or 10% of the entire library space, for use as educational space. The identified space was primarily occupied by bound journal stacks but included study space interspersed between the stacks and a staff office. A large reading room, a computer lab and classroom, a multimedia lab, copy and cashier services, interlibrary loan services, and staff offices for all of these services were also located on this floor. During the discussions, a decision was made to renovate the entire floor to create an optimal design for the library. The library's student computer lab and educational technology lab space would remain as part of the educational space but would be renovated as part of the overall project. The breakdown of space changes is shown in .
University of California, San Francisco, library changes in assignable square feet (ASF)
The second-floor student computing facilities were heavy-use areas, whereas use of the print collection in the stacks was declining, and consequently, copy services were also on the decline. The large reading room was not the most popular in the building but had several large tables positioned near windows overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and was in a quiet part of the building. This project offered an opportunity to reprioritize the space and dedicate space to higher impact programs and create an exciting, innovative education space.