Spring 2020 | By Jalen Bass
Designed around people rather than stacks of books, 21st-century libraries, such as the newly renovated John C. Hitt Library, incorporate more natural lighting and more open spaces for learning, studying and collaborating.
Books are no longer front and center, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone. Instead, they — along with other reference materials — are stored in an automated retrieval center built to house, protect and provide easy access to volumes with the click of a mouse. So students can spend more time searching for answers rather than looking for Dewey decimals.
Take a sneak peak inside the renovated spaces.
The fourth floor reading room, located on top of the ARC offers a great vantage point overlooking the Student Union and expanded outdoor plaza.
The Automated Retrieval Center (ARC), which opened in 2018, will be capable of holding up to 1.25 million volumes of the library’s print collection, placed in bins inside racks three stories high, with retrieval by robotic cranes. Currently there are about 550,000 volumes in the ARC. Placing the volumes in the ARC opens up more “stack” space to create areas for students to study and work together.
The first floor will feature two new instruction rooms — including an active learning classroom that features a collaborative, technology-rich learning environment. And in response to student requests for more individual and group study spaces. Students will be able to reserve times via the library website and on-location reservation devices.
The designers made the stairwells more visible and open to increase use and safety.