A Library for the 21st Century

Fall 2014 Issue

The 86-year-old Blough-Weis Library underwent major renovations this summer to create more flexible and individual work areas and group instruction space. The library’s last major renovation was in 1989; since then, the nature of student research has changed dramatically. Much of the work students do is no longer paper-based or solitary.

Increasingly, we see students using audiovisual technology for their assignments and working in groups, which better reflects what their experiences will be in graduate school and the workforce.

To accommodate these new research and study practices, the library was redesigned to include work areas that students can configure to their needs and instruction space that facilitates the role of librarians in the research process. When the library opened for the start of the fall semester, the first floor had been transformed into an open floor plan containing three main areas to meet the needs of student research in the 21st century:

Collaborative Knowledge Center

Located in the northeast corner of the library, the knowledge center includes a main area that can hold up to 30 people for instruction, lectures, meetings and readings; six semiprivate study pods featuring electronic white boards that can display up to four computer screens simultaneously; and several “computer bars.”

Learning Commons

The Learning Commons, located in the inner central circle of the new floor plan, houses a one-stop-shop help desk and the “campus living room,” outfitted with comfortable furniture for individual and small-group study and several “computer bars.”

Theater and Café

The northwest corner of the library’s first floor now includes a café and leisurely reading area, along with a glass-enclosed theater space that allows class-sized groups to view films together using individual wireless headphones.

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