Laura Humble – Staff Writer
One of the best characteristics of Centre College is its ability to change in new and exciting ways from year to year. Perhaps one of the most significant, and possibly most subtle, changes on campus this year has been in the library.
These past several months, the library staff has been kept busy with transformations both to the layout of the library and to the furniture inside.
The dedicated staff has been working tirelessly to ensure faculty and students on campus are happier and more comfortable than ever.
Over the course of the spring and summer, the library underwent a massive renovation. To accommodate for the increased need for faculty office space, the college built new offices in Crounse, completely restructuring the upper level of the library. Additionally, the reference section was completely remodeled. In the process, a great amount of books had to be moved.
“We wound up moving almost the entire collection [of books]. Probably almost 200,000 volumes by the time you count everything ,” Director of Library Services Stan Campbell said. “Our emphasis, and this was critical for us, was to make sure that we improved the space … things change, libraries change, but what we wanted to do was improve the environment … We’re trying to create a collaborative workspace that’s flexible.”
There were specific changes made to improve the environment and create a collaborative, flexible workspace.“We wanted furniture that was moveable,” Frey said. “We also wanted furniture that students could push together if they wanted to work with a group.”
These types of moveable furniture include a media table that students can plug their laptops into and project them onto a screen, new versatile tables and chairs, and a laptop desk that this writer has heard much about, but has yet to actually see.
Changes were made upstairs too. New tables and chairs were added to the front section by the windows looking into Crounse, as well as an intriguing piece labeled a “four-square” by Frey, which looks to be a unique seating arrangement for students. Furthermore, new and much improved lighting was added upstairs; the bathrooms, which Campbell joked were older than most students’ parents, were renovated; and two new study rooms were built.
However, the library staff is not done yet. “We’re still working on some things,” Frey said. The areas just by the stairs on the upper level seem to be the staff’s next concern. But for now, what they require is feedback on the additions already made.
So what do Centre students think?
From the look of the crowds gathered by the new adaptable tables in the old reference area, and the books constantly piled high on the new furniture upstairs as well, this collaborative workspace seems to be doing fairly well. “I really like the new furniture,” sophomore Jeannie Corbitt said. “It’s much more convenient than it was before.” Moreover, the lights on the upper level are a marked improvement from the previous dingy, depressing lighting, and the new study rooms are a welcome addition given that study rooms in general are a very popular studying option.
Despite this positive response, the new library furniture may be a little slow to catch on with some students who stick to old habits. “I have not used the new furniture. I kind of have my area in the library that I tend to frequent and I haven’t had any reason to check out the new stuff,” sophomore Elle Enander said.
Some students are not even aware of some of it. “I don’t even know what you’re talking about,” sophomore J.P. Deering said when asked about the furniture. Some of the furniture can be pretty elusive, though. I myself have searched everywhere for the mysterious laptop desk, but have yet to find it. From what I hear, though, it is a cool new feature, and if it is anything like the media table or the foursquare piece, then it must be an awesome addition to the library. I can’t wait to see what changes are in store for us next.