Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass libraries complete renovations

Aviva Luttrell/Collegian

A series of upgrades to two University of Massachusetts libraries have been completed, according to UMass Director of Libraries Jay Schafer.

The upgrades, which had been in the works for years, Schafer said, were completed in the W.E.B. Du Bois and Science and Engineering libraries.

Schafer said the upgrades were done to “reconfigure space to suit student needs.”

Changes in the Science and Engineering Library, located in the Lederle low-rise, include the creation of a “learning commons” modeled after the basement of the Du Bois Library. The space features 46 individual computers, eight group study rooms that have whiteboards and computers, and a carpeted seating area, according to a University press release.

Schafer said the renovations in the Science and Engineering Library will provide students on the north side of campus with better facilities and give them a space to study in groups.

In the Du Bois Library, 3,000 square feet were redesigned to create a new Music and Media Center on the sixth floor.

The offices in the Special Collections and University Archives Department on the 25th floor were also renovated in order to provide space for staff and students working to digitalize documents pertaining to the history of UMass, according to the release.

The sixth floor, Schafer said, traditionally housed government publications, which are now available digitally. Since the print collection of these documents is no longer growing, the floor could be converted to a Music and Media Center.

The sixth floor of Du Bois brings together all the music collections, which had previously been scattered throughout the library on different floors.

Schafer said that music department faculty had been pushing to have all music housed in one space in order to provide easier access to students and faculty.

The new Music and Media Center also features multimedia viewing areas, CD and cassette players, audio listening stations with LP turntables, a DVD collection, music monuments and scores, and computer stations with access to printers.

Funding for the renovations came largely from donations to the Friends of the Library’s Facilities Fund, with the cost of the renovations in the Science and Engineering Library totaling approximately $250,000.

The cost of the Du Bois sixth-floor music and media renovation came to approximately $100,000, Schafer said.

Five elevators in the library were also replaced, and the Procrastination Station Café was expanded, resulting in a near tripling of business, according to library officials.

The final elevator in the Du Bois library is still in the works to be replaced, as well as an electrical upgrade to the building, Schafer said.

He said that this is a huge undertaking because it will require the construction of two new electrical closets on each floor, requiring all the books to be shifted.

Schafer described the renovations as a “domino effect,” and explained how moving one function allowed library staff to rethink how other areas are used.

The third floor, currently a study area, will soon be transformed into a multimedia production facility, Schafer said.

He also said that the library is working closely with the OIT staff to determine what types of technology students require to create multimedia projects, and added that such a facility would “allow faculty to assign students 21st century challenges.”

Schafer acknowledged multimedia as  “an area where we know students need more support,” and hopes that the library can provide not only the facilities, but also the technical support students need to learn how to use this type of technology. He said he hopes to have the project completed by next fall.

“We still have challenges before us,” Schafer said.

Aviva Luttrell can be reached at [email protected].

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  • C

    ChrisOct 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I was trying to envision what the Sci/Eng learning commons would look like, and then scrolled down and saw the photo gallery. Good reporting, both print and multimedia!

  • A

    annOct 11, 2012 at 4:43 am

    thanks this