The library’s newly renovated first-floor features new collaborative workrooms, modern furniture, a revamped InfoCommons, and a consolidated help and information desk—all designed to provide the resources and flexibility to meet students’ needs. Photo by Brooks Canaday.
By Greg St. Martin
Students returned to campus this semester to Snell Library’s transformed first floor, which now includes more than 20 new collaborative workrooms, a redesigned InfoCommons and main lobby, and informal study spaces with modern furniture that offer a range of seating and desk options.
The renovations, performed this summer, were designed to offer more collaborative work environments and the flexibility to meet students’ needs. The first-floor’s new cutting-edge workspace emulates the look and feel of the innovative Digital Media Commons one floor above. Launched last year, the DMC is a media lab and digital creativity center where students and faculty can utilize a range of technologies, such as new animation, audio and visual editing, 3-D modeling, and game-design software.
The main lobby also features a consolidated help and information desk that now serves as a “one-stop shop” to check out books, reserve multimedia equipment, receive computer assistance, and more. In addition, new printing stations are distributed throughout the floor and new swipe-in stations make it easier to enter and exit the library.
The library’s transformation has generated considerable buzz on Twitter and other social media platforms. “To say I’m overwhelmed by the renovations at @ClubSnell would be a huge understatement,” wrote @YaBoyConnell, while @HannahEliz15 tweeted, “It’s official. The new DMC at @ClubSnell is the coolest thing ever. #inlove”.
Others like @TheCurious_guy tweeted, “Looking at all the innovation @ClubSnell I feel like I have gone 20 years ahead into the future.” Another Twitter user, @emiliiss, remarked, “You know you love your school when you spend your night showing off pictures of your new library like a proud parent.”
In an effort to increase and optimize capacity, Snell Library classrooms have also been relocated to a new classroom wing featuring its own entry; new audio/visual infrastructure designed to support group learning; and immersive teaching through upgraded technology, including lecture capture and videoconferencing. Additional seating and tables on the third floor have provided more than 80 new seats for study space.
Next month, a novel 3-D printing studio with consumer– and professional grade 3-D modeling and creation technology will open in the Digital Media Commons. There, users will be able to print in plastic, plaster, and acrylic in full color and high-resolution.
The DMC is currently undergoing an expansion that is expected to be completed later this fall. In addition to new fourth-floor study spaces for graduate students, the expansion will include a new Digital Scholarship Commons—an integrated service point for faculty, doctoral students, and others to access a range of high-level services for digital scholarship, teaching, and research. The support center is the result of a partnership between Snell Library, Information Technology Services, and the Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning Through Research.