While a lot of the exterior areas of campus were being updated this past summer, the Grasselli Library and Breen Learning Center received an interior update to make it a more study-friendly space for students.
As students walk into the library and head towards the Computer Commons, they will notice that the tall shelves of books are gone and replaced with lower shelves. Replacing the tall shelves opened up the first floor, allowing more natural light to come through the windows that face the reading courtyard, and lets the air flow more readily through the space.
In order to use the shorter shelves, the library staff had to go through the reference materials and determine what really needed to be kept in print and what could be left to Internet sources. All this was done in an effort to modernize the reference section and to free up more space for students to study or work on group projects.
The new look continues downstairs on the first floor with new, bright paint colors on the walls. Where there were once filing cabinets full of library resources, there are now study tables that double as dry erase boards. There are also movable, upright dry erase boards students can use while studying.
Junior Sarah Elashram said that she likes the new dry erase boards and the open floor plan of the first floor claiming that, before the updated paint, it was dark and confining.
The improved Learning Commons will now play host to not only group tutoring sessions for academic help, but also wellness programs to help enrich the life of students outside the classroom. The space is now more user-friendly and comfortable, including plenty of seating and beanbag chairs for cozy reading spaces.
The library is also planning on adding spaces for one-on-one tutoring and mentoring. In addition to all of the furniture updates, the library is poised to receive two rapid charging stations that can be used to charge students’ phones, iPads, iPods, etc. There will be one charging station on the first floor and another on the second floor.
Library director Michelle Millet said that the new media space on the second floor was designed to be more inviting in hopes that students would use this resource more. The library is also working towards a mobile application to reserve study rooms and possibly adding a “recall” option to the online catalogue. This recall option will allow students to ask for a book that is already checked out to be returned, if the other user has had the book for a period of time, thus making it easier for students to access the books they need.
According to Millet, the library is working towards becoming a “central place for student enrichment and success beyond the books.”