January 19, 2022
It is impossible to walk through McIntyre Mall without noticing the evidence that the Learning Commons Project is officially underway. Trees have been cut down, a large trailer sits outside and a look through the window shows an empty building. With at least a year of construction ahead, the Alma College campus community has found ways to adapt to the temporary upheaval to routine while it awaits the completion of the new Learning Commons.
Several offices have been relocated during construction. The Education Department offices have been moved to the second floor SAC. The Information Technology Services have been split, some have been moved to SAC and others to the building beside Starbucks. The Writing Center is still an accessible resource to students and its new location is in the center conference room in the lower level of the Dow Science Center. That leaves only the library, which has found its temporary home in Tyler Van Dusen.
“The [transition] process has been surprisingly smooth. Any big move will face its fair share of difficulties and setbacks, but we have been able to get everything that is essential moved to where it needs to be, and students have been using the space to study all throughout the day. So far, I have heard a lot of good things from people who have used the space.” says Daniel Nethercott (‘24), a library student staff member who helped in the library’s transition into Tyler Van Dusen.
“I want students to know that the library is still here! We may not be in the library building but the resources are available, and staff are here eager to assist!” says Cristy Omans, Library Services Coordinator at Alma College.
The library is still equipped with access to computers, printers and a scanner. Course reserves and books are also available; however, most books are being stored off-site. While the books are all still available, the time to retrieve the book will take a bit longer.
“The biggest difficulty I foresee is students coming into the library needing a book before class the next morning, and not being able to get it because it is not stored in the library. The library will do its best to communicate the situation to all students and professors so everybody can plan accordingly, and nobody will be stuck without a book when they need it.” says Nethercott.
If a student is in need of a book, they can go to https://alma.kohalibrary.com/. Here they can search for the book they need and place a hold. A librarian will go offsite to retrieve the book and notify the student via email when it is ready for pickup. If anyone has any questions, they can always feel free to reach out to any library staff member.
While the library isn’t in the same space students are accustomed to, the temporary location still has study space available. Omans says one con of the temporary location is that “there are not any private spaces for studying or collaborating,” but there is still comfortable space for quiet individual work. Students can look forward to having more spaces to study, gather and collaborate upon completion of the Learning Commons Project.
“I think the biggest challenge for everyone is simply change. Change is hard but it is necessary,” says Omans in regard to the impacts of the Learning Commons project. She adds, “I am looking forward to an updated fresh space in the new Learning Commons. I am also looking forward to the opportunities created for both students and staff by having multiple departments in one building.”
Change is happening on Alma College’s campus, from the Chapel to the Learning Commons. Nethercott describes their knowledge of the change, saying, “I know that the Learning Commons will be much different than it was pre-renovation. The books and the main desk will be upstairs, and the basement and main floor will contain a variety of study and recreational spaces. The Stacks will be gone, and the amount of study carrels reduced, but plenty of space will be made for study rooms and group-study areas.”