The Robert E. Kennedy Library is undergoing major changes this summer, including a complete transformation of the second floor, as well as the addition of Julian’s. With new carpet, modern furniture and fresh ideas, the library can offer students a more efficient place to study.
Anna Gold, associate dean for public services, said the renovations will make working on group projects on campus more accessible for students. Eight new private study rooms will be available, equipped with white boards and monitors that will allow students to be able to visually create and organize information with ease.
“They will all be glassed in,” Gold said. “It’s going to be gorgeous.”
Solo studying has been considered as well, and quiet areas will become more recognizable for students needing uninterrupted work time.
“As part of this move, the fourth and fifth floors will become designated quiet zones,” Gold said. “Students really want quiet spaces.”
Due to an unusually high rate of faculty turnover, the library was able to use the salary savings to fund the second floor upgrades.
Michael Miller, dean of library services, said that the second floor improvements are the beginning of a larger vision for the future, which includes the expansion of the 24-hour study room, as well as a new building.
“We are trying to make some improvements for what we know students need,” he said. “We are going to be constantly updating.”
Miller said that the current library would have been considered state-of-the-art in the 1960s, but today, students use information in a digital way.
“All kinds of things have changed. Typically, a library equals books, but most collections are online now. Instead of designing a building around books, you can design it around people,” he said. “Why not create a space where students can be comfortable and productive?”
Julian’s will be accompanied by a seating area providing a perfect group meeting spot with various tables and comfortable chairs. Along the window there will be plugs to power laptops and provide students with natural light and a scenic view, Miller said. The café is an important addition to the second floor because many students’ chosen study spots depend on where they can get a late cup of coffee, according to Miller. With Julian’s presence in the library, all study necessities will be on campus.
“If you are going to be studying for a long time, what are you going to want?” he said. “It is perfectly reasonable to have refreshments. It fosters the idea of working together.”
Along with beverages, the café will be selling desserts and food items. Miller said that changes will be made to the menu as time goes on, and as students voice what they would like to have available.
Aside from being more convenient, Miller hopes the arrival of the café will promote faculty to converge with students, and possibly make it easier for students to speak with professors outside of class.
Miller said that the café area could also be used for informal lectures, and could serve as an arts or science café, with discussions held in question-and-answer format.
“A library doesn’t need to be an exclusively quiet place. It can be active,” he said.
Renovations are set to be complete by the end of August, in time for Week of Welcome.