As space needs at Alden Library continue to escalate, the staff has worked hard to find creative solutions. Students spoke, and we listened: the fourth floor now offers new “quiet spaces” and the Media Library has merged with the Circulation Department to create a one-stop public service point. In collaboration with University Facilities Planning and Space Management and with input from faculty and students, Alden Library staff has developed a targeted renovation plan for the 40-year old building. The project can be funded in phases and could begin immediately.
Fourth Floor Renovation
Alden Library’s fourth-floor space must respond to the needs of today’s student and complement the success of the second-floor Learning Commons. In keeping with our student-centered focus, our plan is to provide flexible work spaces, graduate student spaces, exhibit areas, and pervasive electronic access. Funding for this re-imagined space will also allow us to make overdue physical updates and upgrade our computer networking capabilities.
Co-locating Two Student Centered Areas
Located in the back corner of the first floor or Alden Library, the Academic Advancement Center offers tutoring, academic skill development, academic guidance through credit courses, and individual group study sessions—all of which are crucial to helping students gain the skills required to success in a university academic environment. But because the center is so tucked away, it’s practically invisible, and the crucial services often go underutilized or unknown.
By contrast, the Learning Commons, located on the library’s second floor, has become a hub for OHIO students, thanks in part to the recently opened Baker Center—Ohio University’s student center—just across from the library’s busy second floor entrance. The Learning Commons provides expert assistance within a technology-rich environment. Here the Writing Center’s tutors, technology assistants, and librarians work to provide a vibrant, learner-centered, collaborative environment. A key part of the targeted renovation plan will bring the AAC to the second-floor space. When the two centers occupy the same physical area, we will send a targeted message to students: that OHIO values the AAC’s academic support services, which are available to all students at all levels, and that less-prepared students can learn from students who are more ready to meet the academic requirements of a university education.
Every year, Ohio University librarians provide students with over 1,200 hours of instruction about navigating today’s overwhelming information environment and using quality information to produce better papers, presentations, and products for class assignments. The teaching spaces in Alden Library were state-of-the-art computer lab environments 10 or 12 years ago. Now, as faculty assign more team-based projects, as mobile computing has become ubiquitous, and as the universe of information continues to expand, more technologically flexible spaces are required.