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Library to undergo renovations to increase study space

Students can expect to see a newly designed interior in the fall

Library to undergo renovations to increase study space

The Bender Library will undergo renovations this summer to increase study space for students. 

The Bender Library will undergo renovations this summer to increase study space for students and create a “more inspiring library space,” said University Librarian Nancy Davenport.  The existing space will be redesigned but there will be no modifications made to the building’s structure.

“We are trying to configure the space to give students more of the space, in particular more during daylight,” Davenport said. “I watch this building in the morning, and I see how it fills from the windows first, to the inner core.” 

The main changes this summer will occur on the the first floor and basement of the library. The resource desk will be eliminated and the borrowing desk will increase in size. Any materials from the basement, such as books or technology, will be brought up to the first floor.

What was once communal office space on the first floor for librarians will become study rooms for students to collaborate on projects and study in groups. Private offices will be constructed for these librarians to work one-on-one with students in the basement. 

Another addition downstairs will be a “Maker’s Space” next to the Mud Box Cafe. This will hold equipment such as the 3-D printer, 3-D scanner, poster printer and other tools for students to use.

The space on the third floor that is currently allocated for the archives will be transformed into study space for students because of its move to the Spring Valley Building. Technical services, which catalogues digital media and manages online resources, will also move to the same location.

“I spend a lot of time in the library, so I’m looking forward to the changes,” said Sarah Corbishley, a freshman in the School of International Service. “I love to work in McKinley and SIS because of all the light, so if the library will have more space by the windows, that’s really exciting.” 

The planning process has been ongoing for the last four years, Davenport said. When she was invited to AU by the provost four years ago, he included in her contract “the revisioning of library services and reconfiguring the building,” Davenport said.

Twenty-five thousand items will be moved to the off-site shelving facility that is shared with  other universities in the region. Davenport said this is because the library receives about 25,000 items every year and they try to keep the materials “up to the status quo.”

In addition to the physical changes, Davenport said there will be a significant increase in digital reserves. This effort is a way to accommodate the needs of the University now and in the future, Davenport said. The physical changes will include a new look as well, as the library plans to abandon the current purple color scheme and replace it with black and white accompanied by red, green and blue accents. 

“It just seems a bit outdated,” Corbishley said. “It will be nice to see the space livened up a bit.”

All of theses changes are being made to provide a new and more inviting work space for students. There is an emphasis on light and study space for students to have the best experience possible. 

bcrummy@theeagleonline.com