Feb 5, 2008

Library recieves facelift with brand-new space renovations

by Mattison Brooks
Liberty students returned this semester to a newly renovated library and an updated interlibrary loan system called ILLiad. Most significant library renovations include 30 additional cubicles with Internet access, 19 new computer stations at the back of the library and a more compact shelving system for the journals, allowing for more space. A section of the wall on the first floor was removed to allow easier access to the relocated information desk and to free space to move around the library. In addition, aesthetic improvements were made, including newly painted walls, more carpets and chairs, and a more “efficient and attractive” service desk in the curriculum library. The downstairs shelving renovation has also freed up several thousand square feet, which is now being used for the addition of over 50 seats in an expanded quiet study area. “The highest requested renovation by students was space changes,” Dean of the Integrated Learning Resource Center (ILRC) Dave Barnett said. “We have never really had a quiet study area where the noise level allows for concentration.” Other renovations requested by the students were also taken into account by the administration and adjustments were made Barnett said. “There was a steady cry for more computers,” Barnett said. “There is not much space upstairs, so we only added seven there, while downstairs we added 29 more computers because of the freed-up space.” These changes have been long underway. Many began last July and a few finished over Christmas break. “We did the renovations based upon what our needs were and what the students wanted. Another side to it was how we compared to other schools and libraries across the country,” Barnett said. “Those changes help to improve the atmosphere and create a better experience while in the library.” Students agreed that the changes were a good thing, but they admitted they had not really noticed the renovations “The information desk is actually easier to get to now, so that is definitely a good thing,” junior Caitlin Plage said. “That being moved, and a few other pieces of furniture, but I haven’t noticed much else.” Another student agreed that while not all of the current changes are easily noticed, there has been improvement, and they would like to see more added in the future as well. “The layout is fine,” freshman Kristina Venable said. “The journals and book areas seem more organized now, but I would really like to see newer books come in.” ILLiad, the new interlibrary loan system, allows students to request books that are not found in Liberty’s library. Both the old and new interlibrary loan systems allow for books to be borrowed from other schools and libraries across the country. These libraries in turn can borrow from Liberty’s library. According to Barnett, the new system is far more efficient than the previous system. “The system reads the data input from the students that is used to find the book,” Barnett said. “So, there is still the book exchange process, but it allows the student to track the materials ordered, and it also notifies the student of when it will arrive. This will allow everyone to manage his or her materials better.” This change in the system will allow materials to get to the users much faster, allowing the library to operate smoother. While there are currently no more major renovations planned for this semester, Barnett did not rule out the idea of expansion sometime in the future. “As long as the school keeps growing, there is always reason to expand,” Barnett said. “All the departments have their materials within the library, so as their needs grow, we will have to as well.” Contact Mattison Brooks at embrooks@liberty.edu.
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