Renovations to accommodate a changing university


John Archer library voices… keep it down!

Author – Michael Chmielewski/Alec Salloum editor-in-chief/news editor

Quiet in the library damn it! /Michael Chmielewski

Quiet in the library damn it! /Michael Chmielewski

Students taking classes over the summer, if they visited the library at all, probably noticed the ongoing renovations. The Archer Library is currently undergoing renovations to facilitate students’ changing needs, according to William Sgrazzutti, the University Librarian.

“This is all about the desire to be more efficient in how we’re organizing staff services benefitting the students. One of the things we want to do is provide a more consistent level of service for students for longer periods and that is the main thrust of the project.”

This consistent level of service will be brought about as an integrated services area with multi-discipline-trained staff.

The Associate University Librarian, Colleen Murphy, explained that, “We‘re merging two service points. We’ve been progressively reducing our number of service points in the library because it’s difficult to maintain them, the staffing of them and everything, and the hours, so we’ve been progressively putting them together and this is the last step: so we’ve brought together our circulation services and our information or reference services.”

The renovations, scheduled to finish before the bulk of students are back for class, will include more computers for students to study on, combined service points for ease of use, and longer hours for those late night cramming sessions.

The renovations are freeing up space for student use as well. Moving the current information desk will provide room for the new computers, and the reference collection on the main floor will be relocated to make room for students. Sgrazzutti and Murphy are noticing that when they free up space, the students come to study there.

“Every space we carve out, instantly students are there. So we know there is a real demand in keeping with the evolving role of the library on campus.”

Considering the astronomical rise of the student population in the last few years, this makes sense. The draft of the new strategic plan explains that, “Total enrolments have grown by 13% from Fall 2009 to Fall 2013, and are expected to exceed 14,000 in Fall 2014.”

As for the costs of the project, that cannot be determined yet, as the project is not yet completed.

“We intend to disclose the costs associated with this renovation to the Library to better serve students. The costs will be shared once the project is complete and we have those final numbers to share” Sgrazzutti said.

Look for a follow up article once the costs are made available.

Sgrazzutti did explain that the “source of funding for the project was one-time money resulting from surplus carry forward from the previous budget year.”

The main aim of these renovations is to better serve the growing student population at the U of R. This includes adding eight more workstations, complete with computers, and additional workspaces and tables on the main floor. Colleen Murphy also stated that library hours, previously prone to changes and amendments will become fixed “at 7:30 in the morning” and until “11 at night”.

“Ultimately we’d like to be able to offer at peak times 24 hour service, so it’d basically be a study hall” says Murphy.

The Carillon will continue to report on any new developments happening at the library.

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