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Library's First Floor Transforms

Do you remember what the library looked like when you were a student? Was it easy to find help? A place to study? A renovation completed this year completely transformed the first floor of the library.

With the building only seven years old, why renovate? We wanted to improve service, respond to students' changing needs, and improve efficiency. The library joined with Academic Technology and Information Technology in 2013 to conduct an eight-month data gathering process to make recommendations for redesigning the library's first floor. Our focus was on obtaining student input which was achieved through a flip chart survey asking students how they used various areas of the first floor, focus groups, and a campus-wide survey which received over 2,300 responses. Based on the results, we decided to consolidate service desks, relocate the first floor reference collection, and add additional collaborative seating.

Construction began in December 2014 and included a new, custom-built Library Help Desk conveniently located at the front entrance. The desk features counter height seating on one side where library users can study and meet with librarians for research help. We also added a new hold shelf for self-service pick-up of books adjacent to a self-service checkout machine. Library users can now quickly locate and check out the materials they've requested without waiting in line. Additionally, the relocation of the help desk provided an opportunity to repurpose an office space into a permanent satellite location for The HUB Writing Center.

In June 2015, the reference collection shelving was removed, providing the space to add a variety of new tables and seating. A site visit to a furniture showroom with a student focus group gave us crucial input on furniture options. Students were drawn to the counter-height tables and stools, soft seating with built-in outlets, mobile privacy screens to create semi-private space, and dual swivel chairs that can be moved easily for group study. Library staff worked with designers to create a final floor plan. Ultimately, over 80 new seats have been added to the first floor.

We have received extremely positive feedback and comments from the whole community, and students in particular. Comments received from students include:

  • "I like that the first floor is becoming a better space to collaborate and work with others"
  • "I come to the library more often than before cause it just gives a better feel and environment for studying"
  • "The different types of seating create a fun but focused environment for study"

Elizabeth McKeigue
Associate University Librarian For Learning & Engagement

Jennifer Nutefall
University Librarian

Jan 20, 2016