SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Students, faculty and staff, take note: There will soon be an even more learning-conducive and group-friendly research and study space on campus - the "Library Research Services Room" in Slippery Rock University's Bailey Library.
The remodeling is reconfiguring the former "Reference Room" on the northeast side of the main floor into a contemporary research and study space, with new seating arrangements, research rooms, furniture, technology, carpet, environmental lighting and new paint, said Philip Tramdack, library director.
There will be several areas where students can share a computer or run several computers at one time. SmartBoards will enable students to practice making presentations. The laptop lending station has been relocated from the lower level research services room to promote easier access.
"There are a number of reasons for making this significant investment in the library's first floor at this time," Tramdack said. "Students bring different expectations of libraries today compared to just a few years ago. This became obvious when we observed the way students use the new Technology Learning Center compared to the remaining un-remodeled section of the first floor."
"We immediately realized we needed to provide more flexible study areas, particularly for groups, than the old room allowed," he said. "We are installing furniture designed for flexible use by individuals or groups working collaboratively."
Library staff weeded the reference collection of older or out-of-date titles to take up less room, liberating space for more people, he said.
"The room has been completely painted, new carpet laid down throughout and all the furniture has been replaced," Tramdack said. "Tall bookcases have been eliminated creating a more open, light and airy feel. Overall, the new furniture makes the space more inviting and conducive to studying and research as well as visiting, relaxing, and attending to personal communication."
"We know from our daily head counts that the library is a very popular place," he said. "We anticipate it will be more popular than ever because it will be a more fun, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing place to be, which will make it a more effective center for teaching and learning, which after all is the main point."
Lynn Hoffmann, assistant professor of library, said seating clusters would resemble restaurant booths. Round tables will face outward in alternative semi-circles, creating a serpentine configuration. Also new are two research rooms encased in glass.
Eight-foot, dark-wood bookshelves have been swapped with new shorter, brighter bookcases. The furnishings are natural maple and stainless steel laminate to give a contemporary look. They are "green" with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, he said. Fabrics are natural and have been certified as rapidly renewable or recycled material.
The number of available computers available was increased to 91, giving students more access to electronic materials. This includes eight quick print stations, up from three.
Hoffmann said the remodeling would strengthen the library's core task.
"While this area has been entirely updated, making it a more contemporary and user friendly space, the mission of the library hasn't change ¬- to provide quality and timely research assistance to students and faculty. Ultimately, that is why this space is here. We simply aren't another computer lab. To meet research needs, librarians will be available throughout the day and by appointment to work with students and faculty."
Tramdack said the project follows on the creation of the pilot Technology Learning Center that opened in the spring.
The remodeling includes lighting to create a friendlier, more natural atmosphere with less glare. The new lights are more energy efficient, "reducing our energy footprint and helping us achieve our green University status," he said.
The work is scheduled for completion by the end of September, with a dedication planned.
The three-story, 100,846 square-foot library has served the research needs of students and faculty since it opened in 1970. Its collection includes more than 500,000 printed books and magazines, access to more than 180,000 electronic books and more than 50,000 journals. During the school year, more than 26,000 people use the library.
Bailey also houses University archives and the offices of Career Education and Development, Academic Support Services and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Technology.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.