Here is a brief update on our library remodel project at work. We mostly completed phase one just after students came back at the end of August. There is still some minor painting that needs to occur, along with a few other things to get buttoned up. We hope to receive some additional funds for a phase 2 next year.
We fully occupy two stories in our three story building and have a couple storage rooms in the basement portion of the building. We moved half of our reference materials upstairs from our main floor to our general collection and most of our periodical backlog to basement storage. This freed up a lot of room for creating more study space for flexible collaboration along with maintaining a number of single user computer stations, a periodicals/reading lounge, and a reference study area. Last year we moved to a single reference, information, and circulation desk model. We carried that over to this year after last year’s pilot project was a success.
Upstairs we did a major weeding project and opened up some room to have more study rooms built. We added two large rooms for 4-8 people and four small rooms suited to 1-2 people to our existing two large study rooms. We also created more space for individual quiet study with more single person computer stations, wide desks for students with laptops and multiple books, a few lounge seating areas, and retained a selection of carrel options.
We built the tables and bought good quality used chairs to make our $20,000 furniture fund stretch to meet our needs. We are still waiting for the installation of glass barriers at our entrance to block off the non-security gate area between the walls and gate. Our study room construction budget of $15,000 covered materials and the cost of our university maintenance department employees time to build the rooms.
Next year we hope to convert our computer lab, which we were able to make into a 24 hour study space for the first time this semester, into more of a microcosm of the library (minus books). So, we hope to add some study tables, make a couple of collaborative computer stations, add some lounge seating, and try to retain enough flexibility to still use it as a small teaching lab/library instruction space.
Working on a small campus with a small student body, while trying to provide services and facilities at a high level, can be difficult with limited resources, but I think we did a good job utilizing what we were given.