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University Libraries

A Little TLC for 4, 5, 6

By Maureen Schlangen

While large-scale renovations such Roesch Refresh draw a lot of attention, smaller makeovers are quietly taking place across campus — sometimes with the elements the larger renovations have left behind.

In Roesch Library, as the first and second floors undergo a comprehensive reconstruction, operations staff took advantage of a windfall from a residential services renovation — about 100 fabric-covered chairs — to refresh the study areas in the “stacks” — floors four, five and six.

“Our summer goal was to create more single study spaces on the sixth floor — the silent floor — by moving the larger tables to the fourth and fifth floors and moving more of the private carrels up to six,” said Risé Kreitzer, operations coordinator in the University Libraries. 

Electrical outlets are now more accessible on all three floors, too, said Paul Remsen, building services assistant.

“We added ‘smart sockets’ with six outlets near all the tables, and anywhere that doesn’t have electrical outlets — we call them ‘dead zones’ — is now a soft seating area for people to be comfortable and relax,” Remsen said. “The difference is pretty remarkable. The students really seem to like it.”

Plastic chairs get a second life

The plastic chairs that the fabric ones replaced in the library have been moved to Kettering Laboratories along with the upholstered booths and tables from the first floor to create new team and study spaces for engineering students.

six more study rooms updated

The Libraries also renovated six study rooms in 2018, bringing the total number of upgraded study rooms to 12 — four each on floors four, five and six.

“It’s a big difference,” said Tina Powell, University Libraries business manager. “Instead of whiteboards, we put tall, colored writing surfaces on the walls, and we’ve added movable tables sized to suit the space in maple and driftwood finishes. There will also be also a dry-erase panel on the back of each door.”

Each refurbished study room also has new lighting, upgraded electrical service and a fresh coat of blue, green or gray paint.

Student preferences drive design

“We collected input from students for the design and furnishings,” Powell said. “We always do our best to make our spaces and services meet the needs of students, faculty and staff, and we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback.”

Alumni, friends lend support

The study room renovations are funded in part by contributions to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence.

“Alumni remember how important the library was to their academic success, and I think it’s wonderful that they want to give back,” said Dean Kathleen Webb.

Roesch Library has 40 individual and group study rooms, all of which can be booked online.

“A lot of students have noticed the changes on the study floors already,” Webb said, “but when the second floor reopens on Oct. 6, I hope people will also take note of the improvements we’ve made all over the library.”

— Maureen Schlangen is e-scholarship and communications manager in the University Libraries.

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