Students arriving at SLAIS this fall 2012 will be greeted by significant structural changes to the School’s space. The Roberta F. Greig Research Laboratory is a new 315-square foot (29 square metres) research studio, located between rooms 460 and 461 in the Nass Room, and accessed by what was formerly the south doorway to the School. Space that once housed a cluster of lounge chairs is now an office measuring another 150 square feet (14 square metres). Generously funded in part by a bequest from Vancouver Island librarian Roberta Ferguson Greig, the facilities will serve as an area for faculty and students to conduct research activities using modern audio-visual and computer equipment.
This laboratory will help meet the long-standing need for a dedicated space within SLAIS to conduct lab-based research, rather than borrowing high-demand research resources from other departments. From a broader perspective, the Roberta F. Greig Research Laboratory will serve as an important component in establishing the iSchool’s strengthening research profile, as well as preparing students for the current job market. Some of the activities envisioned to occur in this “interactive information space” include website and software usability testing for systems design, video production, task-based information-seeking analysis, information visualization projects, as well as research, focus groups and interviews. Future uses are likely to include integrating some of the research laboratory’s potentially powerful resources into the curriculum of relevant courses, such as Information Visualization, and Research Methods, or courses using video as a pedagogical tool.
Born in Vancouver in 1924, Roberta Ferguson Greig graduated from Royal Jubilee Hospital with First Class Honours in Nursing. She joined the Victorian Order of Nurses, but those who knew her say her heart truly lay in the world of libraries. She eventually joined Vancouver Island Regional Library, and served as the head of the Parksville Branch for many years, until her retirement in 1991. She passed away in March 2009, and bequeathed a donation to SLAIS in her will.