By: Sarah Rowan, Assistant News Editor
Cook Library will undergo renovations this semester in order to offer a new 24/7 study zone and expanded Starbucks for fall 2016.
The renovation, called Phase 1A, will create a more logical organization of the library space as well as add seating to the existing Starbucks.
“This is just a continuation of the theme to improve our spaces, so that we can have even better resources and services for the students,” Dean of University Libraries Deborah Nolan said. “We want to be a hub for the learning activities of the students.”
The renovation will also create a new 40-seat information literacy instruction classroom on the 2nd floor, and will move the Circulation and Interlibrary Loan services to the right side of the 3rd floor.
According to Nolan, the bulk of the funding for the project came directly from the university. However, the library welcomes donor contributions as well that provide for collections, books, electronic resources and more comfortable seating for students.
One of the biggest portions of the project, the 24/7 study zone, will provide students, faculty and staff with an area to work after typical closing hours. The space will be accessible by OneCard, and will have enough seating for about 50 people.
While the study zone will not be staffed with a security guard, there will be video cameras to assure security. Students will be expected to abide by an “honor code” to be courteous to one another inside the space.
“Future Towson students will be able to engage with the university more fully having the access to our resources 24/7,” Associate University Librarian for Administrative Services Mary Ranadive said. “As we become more of a residential campus, I think it will be more to their benefit to have that space available to them.”
In the past, the library has worked on projects such as an absolute quiet room, a graduate student study space and a collaborative work zone located on the 2nd floor. After receiving suggestions from students, they decided to begin work on the Phase 1A projects.
“It’s been a need,” senior Dreama Stafford said. “I can remember ever since I was a freshman, the library hasn’t always been the best place. Especially with the hours of availability, it hasn’t always been suitable for every single student. I’m really excited to see what happens.”
Construction plans for future phases include moving the research help desk to the new circulation space, adding additional seating, and reducing the amount of reference materials on the 3rd floor to allow lower shelves and a more open space for students.
According to Nolan, there may be some annoyances in terms of noise levels during construction, but library staff will be on hand to direct students to find quieter spaces within the library that are more conducive to studying.
“I’m very excited,” Nolan said. “These are the kinds of changes that help us to transform into a 21st century academic library. I see the library as continuing to be very busy and very vibrant.”