Scribner Library renovations nearing completion: More recent changes include a new room reservation system and the relocation of several offices

Posted by Rachel Kim

Since July 2011, the Lucy Scribner Library has undergone many renovations, most of which were completed over the past summer. Upon entering the first floor and walking throughout the building, one can easily notice the new study rooms, furniture and equipment.

Previously the library had 15 study rooms, but with the renovations two of the old ones were lost and 12 new ones were added for a total of 25 group study rooms, 16 of which are equipped with flat-screen TVs. The study rooms are part of the new room reservation system, which students can use to reserve a room on the spot or 24 hours or less in advance online.

Along with a new library classroom, the library has added an experiment classroom for the Information Technology office to use when trying out and teaching new learning technologies with faculty. Ten new individual study carrels were made for a total of 32. A media viewing room was added on the first floor, which has been popular for class and outside-class use.

Stacks were trimmed so that all the windows on the second and third floors would have more tables by them. The new tables are also grounded, which allows students to more easily charge their laptops as they work. With the increased number of study rooms and tables, there are now 250 additional seats.

All of the computers in the library are new, and the overall amount of them is the same: 60 on the first floor and 34 on the fourth floor.

The school's GIS center and the academic technologies that work with software and hardware programs have moved to the second floor. IT is located on the first floor where the Inter-Library Loan office used to be. The ILL office is also located on the second floor.

A large amount of renovations went towards the basement. Media Services made the move there last spring, and were recently joined by enterprise systems replacing the periodicals, which have moved into the Hoge building.

Hoge, which used to be a power plant, is located next to Harder Hall and is open to the public from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. It now houses 49,047 volumes of older periodicals. In order to access any of the periodicals, students must place a request for the article to be photocopied and delivered to them which will usually be processed between 24 and 48 hours.

Though the move to Hoge makes the periodicals less accessible, it does add greater security. In the past, pages of old editions of the Saturday Evening Post were ripped out, and other similar incidents of damage to the materials were more likely to happen because they were so easily accessible.

"It is true that it's not quite as accessible as it was, there is something that you will lose when you gain in a situation like that," Access Services Librarian John Cosgrove said. "The only way we gain the security for that material is by losing the open access for it."

The library currently has access to more than 68,000 electronic journals, magazines and newspapers. In 1994, the library had 2,081 subscriptions to print periodicals. Today, it has 391 subscriptions.

The shift from print to digital can also be seen in the ILL system. After requesting an article through the ILL, students will wait 24 to 48 hours for the delivery. The ILL delivery system, however, is not available on the weekends.

"It's a trade-off. What the community is gaining is document delivery of articles and some security on some materials that we want to make sure we have for a long time to come, and what we're losing a little bit is the open access that we used to have downstairs," Cosgrove said.

Currently, Nick Pierce, weekend public services coordinator, is going through the current collection and figuring out which issues people are using, which ones the library should cancel, how much space is available for back issues and how much of them should be held onto. The library is also using mailing seals on the first floor periodicals to determine which ones have been opened and browsed by patrons.

Aside from the immediately noticeable changes, the wiring was redone, the library was newly painted and carpeted, and the wireless network was strengthened.

When asked about the total cost of the renovations, a total number was not given. Cosgrove, however, estimated that the renovations cost several millions. The renovations have reflected the school's eco-friendly attitude with more energy-efficient lighting on all floors. There has been conversation about adding more recycling bins and potentially installing filtered water fountain stations.

Though the renovations have been completed, the library still has plans for more projects, including a new alarm system and an improved roof. For now, the furniture on the fourth floor is being furnished, signs outside offices are being installed, and the only remaining construction is taking place in the basement to connect the enterprise systems to the network and technical service offices located under Case Center walkway. The entire renovation process is expected to be completed by May 2013. 

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