The first wave of renovations to the Evans Library was completed Aug. 20, according to an email from Angela Taylor, director of enabling infrastructure. The email, distributed over Fitforum informed students of the changes and resources now available.
The changes being made to the library are based on patterns of student use, said Dean of Libraries Sohair Wastawy, Ph.D.
“In the past, if you come to a library that is completely print, all you need is a four-by-six card, or a notebook and pencil,” Wastawy said. She went on to explain that now, in 2015, students do not visit the library simply to write notes based on a book they check out, or even to photocopy pages for later reference.
The library is still all about information and research, she said, but “we were using different tools in the past and our tools were mostly print.”
Today, nearly 90 percent of the periodicals are in digital form, as well as almost all of the reference texts. Wastawy expressed that it is due to these changing times and technology that the library needed an update.
According to her, “to be able to use the digital information, you need digital tools.”
The Applied Computing Center, formerly located one level lower, officially opened on the third floor on Thursday.
The empty space on the second floor where the Applied Computing Center used to reside will soon be repurposed to accommodate the needs of a modern student.
“As long as you are using a different tool, you need a different setting,” Wastawy said. “You may not need the same chairs or tables.”
More ergonomic workspaces will be added, such as sit-to-stand desks, which can change height depending on the user’s preference and more comfortable seating.
That area of the second floor is scheduled to be completed in October. It will be outfitted with many new computing features and tools that students, especially those in the sciences, require to complete projects.
Student-athletes are required to log their study table hours on the third floor, but the changes should not disrupt normal operations, said Mandi Bennett, director of student-athlete development.
“The downfall is going to be the number of people and possibly the noise level,” Bennett said, “so we’re going to try to do what we can to keep that to a minimum.”
The third floor should not become too crowded, since many of its shelves have been relocated to other parts of campus or donated to local schools and nonprofits.
Additionally, new study rooms have been created by dividing larger ones in half. “Often we see just one student using an entire study room,” said Wastawy. The increased number of rooms will allow more solo students and average-sized groups to study in a quieter environment.
Creating a more comfortable working environment for students is very important to Wastawy. She said, “for you to be comfortable in the library, it is not going to work to have very hard, wooden chairs and wooden tables.”
On the fourth floor, a silent zone, a large hammock for sleeping has been added in one corner, while reclining ‘zero-gravity chairs’ circle a nearby bin of blankets.
On the first floor, the primary changes are in the main entry area. Some upper panels of the walls have been painted a bold blue color and soon, the words “Just Ask,” will be painted above the front desk.
Where a large reference desk once stood, there are now two smaller kiosk areas. Wastawy said of the old desk, “it is very formal and does not allow a good level of communication.”
She said that switching out the large desk for the new, smaller ones, should serve to make the librarians and student employees seem more accessible. “What we are trying to do is to remove all the barriers.”