Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Major Remodel for the Library is Underway

Second floor renovation
Library Director Louise Kelley has been having some odd dreams. Perhaps it's something every librarian worries about - the stacks of books crashing to the ground and landing in a big heap of disorder. But Kelly has a particular reason to be concerned- those Vol State stacks will soon be doing a dance of sort on the second floor of the library. It's all part of extreme library makeover, as Thigpen becomes home to the new Learning Commons.

The process started months ago.

"We withdrew 14,000 books from our collection," Kelly said. "These were books that needed to be withdrawn due to out of date information and wear."

Carpet removed on the second floor
The renovation has already begun on the second floor. Crews have moved the furniture downstairs to the Rochelle Center for storage. Now the carpeting is coming up. Soon, demolition will start on walls as second floor rooms are reconfigured. The second floor work will culminate with a library book ballet of sorts.

"They're bringing in library movers to move each shelf as one entire unit," Kelly said.

"We have 48,000 books left and with that many we can't just push them to one side of the room," said John Mouvery, director of Facilities. "We have to do a series of three moves, carefully choreographed."

The goal is to install new carpeting throughout the second floor and reposition the stacks.

Part of the new Learning Commons location
With that done, the library staff will move up to the second floor and work will begin on the first floor. That demolition and construction downstairs will be more extensive. The walls of the left hand side of the first floor will be removed (as you walk in from the lobby), along with the Thigpen classrooms. The new Learning Commons will be constructed in that area. The process will mean a series of temporary moves for library materials. But Kelly says they are making sure that students, faculty and staff will be able to access what they need, however she adds that books may have to be retrieved by a library staff person.

The Rochelle Center
The big question is, of course, noise. Librarians like it nice and quiet and unfortunately there will be some noise. Library staff will be working with Facilities to minimize the disruption. It is hoped that moving operations from floor to floor will help.

The project is expected to be finished in the early part of the spring semester. When it's done this will be the new configuration of the library:

First floor: circulation desk, student use computers (same number as now), library staff offices and the Learning Commons.

Second floor: research center, reference collection, periodicals, copiers and a silent study room.

Final plans for the first floor
What will be gained? The Learning Commons will have much more room and an expansion of computers from 120 currently to 200 terminals. The room is being designed with learning and teaching in mind. It should provide a comfortable home for Learning Support classes and other functions for years to come.

In the meantime, Kelly is taking some comfort in the knowledge that those stacks of books will be moved by professional library movers. That should prevent the librarian nightmare from becoming a reality.

You can click on the "Final plans for the first floor" picture above for a much larger version. For details on the 60,000 ebooks that are available and other services to help faculty and staff through the process, please visit the Library web page.

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