Library expansion? "It's not an expansion, it's a renovation."
"I think that's a very basic misunderstanding, because obviously the college is in expansion mode right now," says Ross Thrasher, director of Library Services.
"The college committed $1.7 million dollars about a year and a half ago to a refurbishment of the library," says Thrasher, "but only within the existing space."
Only one thing has been expanded. That is the estimated 500 square feet of extra room in the upstairs offices of the library staff.
Thrasher, who has held his position as director for the past two years, says that the newly refurbished library was as much about re-arrangement as it was about refurbishment.
"We recognized that our arrangement of materials and service desks, and some other features of the library were not really very efficiently organized," he says.
The information desk, reference desk, and other features have been made more prominent when one first enters the library, and the reference materials have been organized into a "more logical, more efficient" system. As well, some library staff have been moved from what Thrasher calls "very makeshift offices" into the upstairs office area.
New additions to the library includes three new study rooms, an expanded area for reviewing reserve material, better lighting on the study table, and expanded computer access.
The study rooms, although not open to the public yet, will have room for between four and ten students per room to have a quiet place to sign out for group meetings and other activities. The tables will be equipped with task lighting and network ports for laptop computers. The library has also added ten new public computers, complete with network connections, with room for up to 12 more in the future.
The upstairs office space now includes private cubicles for the library staff, a lunchroom, and a refinished washroom.
"It's quite a transformation, really," says Thrasher.
A covered walkway through the library, nicknamed the "hamster bubble," was a casualty of the renovations, and has been changed to an emergency-only fire exit.
Renovations began at the end of May, after all the books, furniture and equipment had been removed from the library. There was just one day of down time for the library during the construction. During the summer, students could still borrow books from the library. Books were kept in the auxiliary gym, and students were asked to place a request with Library Services for the reference material that they needed. The library re-opened in it's usual spot on September 4, although Thrasher says that renovations won't be complete until the end of September or early in October.
Thrasher says that although this wasn't an expansion, the library will need to expand within the next two to three years to keep up with the demand of an ever-growing campus.
"The library will need to expand," says Thrasher. "I think that will become quite urgent if, as planned, we are large enough to accept another couple of thousand students."
"It's going to place an increased level of demand on the library and we're going to have to have to keep providing more facilities."