Main/Undergraduate Library Integration Project

The Library charged the Main/Undergraduate Library working group in December of 2020. The working group is currently developing plans for integrating core student services offered in the Undergraduate Library into other campus libraries, including the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center and Funk ACES Library, as well as the Main Library. Informed by long term usage data and recent student surveys, the Main/Undergraduate Library Integration Project will result in new and refined combinations of student-focused services, which address both time-honored as well as emerging needs supporting academic and student life success.

The Main/Undergraduate Library Integration Project complements existing plans to construct an archives and special collections building in the current Undergraduate Library building, and further develop the model outlined in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) Redevelopment Plan Programming and Conceptual Design Study. The integration project recommendations will specifically address user needs and service models during the time period when the archives and special collections building is being constructed. The Library anticipates discussions about the longer-term future of the Main Library building to be ongoing, and informed by lessons learned during the SPRC construction phase.  The Library welcomes feedback on the project.

Summary of key recommendations:

Logistics and Operations

The group identified locations for the physical collections of the Undergraduate Library, including both print and multimedia formats.  The majority of collections, including the media collection, will go into the Main Stacks, with some smaller pieces of the collection transferred to subject libraries such as the Literatures and Languages Library, the Music and Performing Arts Library, and Funk ACES Library.  Collection funds and responsibilities for selection were similarly distributed through discussions with relevant subject specialists.

Student-Focused Spaces

An analysis of study space usage data identified the need for study spaces in other libraries to accommodate 535-700 students.  Through a combination of adding additional seating and optimizing occupancy of underutilized study spaces, between 818-878 additional seats were identified across the Main Library, Funk ACES library, Music and Performing Arts Library, and Grainger Engineering library and Information Center.  The most significant change recommended was to create a large, group-friendly study space occupying the North end of the first floor (primarily in rooms 100 and 112), with access to printing services, research and consultation services, and the Writers Workshop, and operating during later hours in the evening.  This space will be transformed over the course of FY22, with the goal of opening in its new role for the start of the Fall 2022 semester.  The report also made recommendations for staffing and security needs for these spaces, including having administrative oversight provided by the Research and Information Services unit, and recommended a follow-up team to design a transition plan and implementation timetable.

Follow-up activities: The Library Executive Committee should appoint a Study Space Planning Group to oversee the implementation of the changes recommended in the report and prepare affected Library spaces.

Instruction

Support for the critical instruction programs serving Composition I classes in Rhetoric and Communications departments and undergraduate ESL classes was articulated through a combination of mechanisms.  First, personnel needs were addressed through the recommendation to merge the department into the instructional arm of the Research and Information Services unit.  Second, space needs for instruction were articulated through a combination of enhancing existing spaces in the Main Library and Funk ACES library, and working with the departments served to utilize their own campus classrooms.  Finally, a pair of follow up teams were charged with identifying shared models for instructional training, and identifying cohorts to cooperatively teach related undergraduate classes.

Follow-up activities: The Library Executive Committee should appoint a Teaching Space Working Group to oversee updates to instructional facilities recommended in the report.

Consultations and Programming

The team articulated four primary recommendations to blend existing consultation and student-focused programming mostly into the Main Library.  First, to incorporate Media Commons services primarily into the Scholarly Commons, with selected services offered via the Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center.   Second, to bring Writers Workshop services into the Main Library, providing operations and office space adjacent to the proposed undergraduate-focused space and the Information Desk on the first floor of the building.  Third, to offer the bulk of the event programming that currently happens in the Undergraduate Library in or adjacent to the proposed undergraduate-focused space on the first floor of the Main Library building.  And fourth, to integrate selected events and potentially expanded Writers Workshop services into other locations in the Main Library and in the Funk ACES Library.