The newly renovated library will soon come to campus in the 2023 Winter Semester. The library-to-learning commons renovation project has been happening since 2021.
The new learning commons will still have the same services but will include some new additions. The first change includes offices and spaces for the Center for College and Community Engagement (3CE) with Student Success and Career and Personal Development.
All three of these offices are being moved from the Center of Student Opportunity (CSO), and it has yet to be discussed what will replace those offices.
Another addition will be a café on the first floor. This will be shared with the College Archives, Library Special Collections and student organization offices. Other spaces within the library will be lounge areas for students.
There will also be a back door that opens towards Superior Street. The Learning Commons will have new entrances from Mac Mall and the northern courtyard. An entrance will be added on the south side of the building, facing the Reid-Knox Administration Building, as well.
Stacks, the oldest part of the library, was demolished due to an increasing number of problems that have been accumulating since it was built in the early 1920s.
The library has turned into a central learning common for students to have better access to resources on campus from all types of offices and services.
“We finally are fortunate to have a centralized physical location on campus, and [to] have more of a student union type of place. [We will also be] getting a better utilization of that space,” said Director of Student Success, Philip Andre.
With offices being moved and changes being done, connections can be lost, and new ones can be made.
“We’re sad to be moving away from all our colleagues in the CSO, but it will be nice to be more centrally available to students. We’re very excited to be only a floor away when the Qdoba comes into the learning commons,” said Assistant Director of Student Success, Betsy Strobel.
This renovation project has brought better accessibility to where “if someone is going to grab Qdoba for lunch and says, oh, I want to talk to someone about this, they can walk upstairs or down the hall or whatever, and go have that conversation,” said Andre.
Other than better accessibility for students there could be room for more resources for the offices. For instance, the CSO may get more testing rooms to provide their services to students on a wider scale.
“We are hopeful that we will have more access to testing rooms, since we only have three currently available in the CSO, and we’ve heard that it might be possible for us to have access to at least six over in the new learning commons. Other than that, we will have all the same services that we’ve had during our time in the CSO,” said Strobel.
Aside from the additions, the services that will be kept from the previous library are the Information and Technology help desk and the Writing Center with a media lab.
“We are all really excited about it, this was a project that was discussed for quite some time… to help and support the students,” said Andre.
Despite the long wait, the library-to-learning commons renovation project will bring a more centralized student commons with the necessary accommodations for student learning and success.