Whiteboards , Whiteboards, Everywhere!

Just a few short years ago, Thompson Library opted to add mobile whiteboards to the Library.

It began with the study rooms. Each study room has a large whiteboard mounted to the wall, with a steady supply of marker pens of assorted colors (available upon request from the Circulation Desk near the entrance) as well as whiteboard erasers.

But students aren’t limited to studying only within the confines of the study rooms. Students use the entire space of the 3 story building utilized by the Library. Students, in short, study everywhere.

Sometimes being near the stacks is useful for an individual or group. They have quick access to a subject area they may need to refer to frequently.

Or perhaps they will use the large tables on the first floor with their direct access to natural light as supplied by 3 story tall windows facing the Flint River Falls between the Library (south bank) and the White Building (north bank). It’s a quiet, relaxing place to study, after all, very serene and tranquil. The absolute perfect place to catch up on reading. (Even in the evening, when night blankets the Atrium and soft lighting continues to create a serene place to read and study.)

Or students may gather at large tables on the first or second floor away from the Atrium in small groups where they can discuss their subject in depth. Perhaps they enjoy the ambience of the third floor, with more activity, and an easier location for groups to discuss their topic of study without worry about disturbing other researchers.

Wherever our students go to read and study, we find they want to diagram, list, itemize, draw, or create visually. And the whiteboards are the perfect medium to express those needs, as well as sharing visually with others in a group.

So, with a little research on the part of the librarians, we located moveable whiteboard and purchased a quantity of them. These boards where placed all around the Library, on all 3 floors, where we have noted students congregate to study in groups.

The whiteboards have a large surface area, and are double sided (with a useable end panel as well). As with the wall-mounted whiteboards in the study rooms, these are also supplied with a variety of colors of marking pens and erasers (again, available on request at the Circulation Desk, 3rd floor).

Over the years, we’ve monitored the boards to see how they were used.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that our University of Michigan-Flint students have used them to very good purpose. The creativity and originality of some of the uses did surprise us, however, and we began documenting the various uses to which the whiteboards have been put.

From years past, here are a few examples of our student’s work. We hope you are as amazed as we at what we have found.


Boards on the 3rd floor tend to serve large groups studying at tables.
Every now and then, a little humor is necessary.
And sometimes, the humor can get rather, um, technical.
The Study Rooms are heavily used throughout the year, but especially before Finals.

Good try guys, but NO. This was quickly erased by Library personnel.
No whiteboards are reserved.
And NO impersonating a Public Safety Officer, either! (That’s sort of illegal.)
Finally ran into the young lady who kept inserting this cat (sometimes just head, sometimes full body) into her work. Asked her what the significance of this happy feline might be. She said that he kept her calm and centered while she was studying. That’s a cat for you …