College Council Recieves Tour Of Library Renovations

Photo by David Khorassani.

The SUNY New Paltz College Council went on a tour of the newly-renovated first floor of the Sojourner Truth Library (STL) on Thursday, Oct. 15. Although the library was tentatively set to open up after Thanksgiving break, its opening has now been pushed back to Spring 2016, according to Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management John Shupe.

“It appears that we will be relocating the circulation desk and finishing up the final project elements during the semester break and will have the library open when students return to campus for the spring  semester,” Shupe said.

Shupe said there are a few main factors behind the delay. Not all the furniture will be on site, completion of some construction activities are delayed and more time is needed to relocate the circulation desk.

The main floor of the library has been renvated to be more spacious, according to Shupe and Director of Facilities Design & Construction John McEnrue. Reference books are currently housed in movable shelving on the ground floor. The movable shelving on the ground floor allows for a large number of books to be stored in a relatively small space.

Additional tables have been added to the new-found space made from removing the reference stacks from the area. Secluded study rooms, which remain in their original location at the back of the main floor study area, have been modified to prevent the noise from conversation in the study rooms from escaping to the main floor study area.

These study rooms are often used for group projects or group study sessions in order to keep the main floor at “low buzz” of conversation, according to SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian.

Eight of the 10 group study rooms will have touchscreen enabled digital displays. These retina-display monitors will have the ability to be hooked up to a students’ laptop via HDMI chord for streaming purposes, presentation purposes, etc. These monitors will also have a touch-screen function with internet access.

According to Mark Colvson, dean of the Sojourner Truth Library, there will be widespread access to technology in all spaces in the renovation. This includes the late-night study, group study rooms, main information commons, conference room, Digital Arts Humanities and Science Lab, as well as portable/lendable technology such as laptops and iPads, which will all have internet access. Although functioning primarily on campus Wi-Fi, these laptops will have a back-up internet hardwired in case of Wi-Fi failure.

The faculty study rooms will also be expanded, which were only slightly larger than a telephone booth, according to McEnrue.

“This is a transformational project where we took an antiquated space and turned it into a modern, student centered library that will meet their educational needs for many years to come,” Shupe said.

The main lobby where the Starbucks counter originally was will be renovated into a Peet’s Coffee Café area. However, this area remains a hard-hat area.

“There are a few reasons for not opening the first floor of the library until after finals including: not all the furniture will be on site, completion of some construction activities and having adequate time available to relocate the circulation desk,” Shupe said.

According to McEnrue, once the main floor is complete construction will be moving some of the library staff upstairs which will allow for the completion of work that remains for Special Collections and the future faculty study rooms on the second, concourse level of the library.

All major campus projects work with a planning committee. Each committee has at least one student involved so that committees can gain a student’s perspective.