September 20, 2016 : By Drew Menard
Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell Library was included on a Library Journal list of academic libraries “destined to become classics.” The September 2016 issue featured eight libraries in its annual New Landmark Libraries listing, which celebrates innovation and excellence by identifying libraries that are “must see” destinations.
“We are extremely honored to have been recognized by Library Journal for the cutting-edge design of the Jerry Falwell Library which was intended to inspire students and equip them to create innovative projects and scholarship,” said Angela Rice, dean of the Jerry Falwell Library.
The Jerry Falwell Library, which opened in January 2014, received honorable mention for its “user-centered approach” and stunning design, which includes 80,000 square feet of interior and exterior glass.
“The careful and thoughtful design of the building resulted in a bright and welcoming user-centered environment,” Rice said. “While the building is spacious, it affords very personalized spaces for differing users’ needs so that students can find their perfect study spots.”
That personalized experience is extended to the availability of assistance throughout the building at the centrally-located Customer Service Center as well as information desks throughout the facility.
“We have been extremely blessed with this wonderful new facility which enables us to provide point of need customer support to achieve our mission of supporting residential and online teaching, learning, and research with excellence,” Rice said.
The journal’s website features a “Walking Tour” of Liberty’s library, including the spacious Esbenshade Atrium, a 4-story open area with plenty of seating and natural light; the serene Caudell Reading Room with cozy seating and easy access to some of the most popular and frequently used titles; and the numerous group study rooms, where students are encouraged to write on the walls while brainstorming and collaborating. Other features include the Tinney Café, offering Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Auntie Anne’s, and sushi; the Dodak Technology Commons, housing the bulk of the library’s computers and printers; the Book Tower, filled with printed volumes and rising 4 stories; and the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS), robotically retrieving stored items in minutes, with space for over 400,000 items. (Learn more about the various facilities and technologies in the Jerry Falwell Library.)
The most recent New Landmark Libraries judging focused on projects completed between 2012 and 2015, and considerations were made based on accessibility of materials (which includes the use of ASRS), people-centered services (Liberty’s Customer Service Center was noted for its concierge model), forward thinking, aesthetics, and its overall impact on campus, teaching, and research.