Nancy Baker Talks to SLIS Students about Library Renovation

Nancy Baker Talks to SLIS Students about Library Renovation

Construction for a new learning commons is well underway at the University of Iowa Main Library. Earlier this month, Library Director Nancy Baker talked to SLIS students in Organizational Management about academic libraries in the 21st century as well as the particulars of this specific project. She discussed the planning stages, the stake holders, and the entire process from beginning to end.

Baker stressed the importance of space, whether physical or digital, to the learning process. For this new library space—the Learning Commons—the architects and designers spent time looking at how people were already using the different spaces in the library. They also looked at similar information and learning commons on other campuses. Baker noted that it is important to create spaces that facilitate collaboration and connectedness as well as maintain space for individual study.

So what are some new things you will see in the Learning Commons? There will be new seating and study spaces that are conducive to technology. Food for Thought, the current library café, will be expanded to include its own seating area, and a new TILE classroom will be added.

Current SLIS student Lindsay Morecraft also attended the University of Iowa for her undergraduate degree and is very pleased at the changes being made. "‪As an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, I used the library services often, however I would study at home and group study outside the library. With the addition of more group study spaces and a larger cafeteria area, I think students will use the space more regularly. I know I would have."‬

Some additional changes are that library services that are currently spread out on the first floor, like reference and circulation, will be consolidated to one area. Student Services will also have a visible presence and will offer tutoring services. The first floor will be getting a new entrance on Madison Avenue, and the Shambaugh auditorium will be getting a reinforcing wall.

The renovation is on track to be completed by the end of 2013.

For more information about the transformation happening, check out the Learning Commons website at