Timelines     1970s  1980s   2000s  2010s 

Learning Commons

The vision of the Learning Commons at the Undergraduate Library was to extend the successful programs and services of the Undergraduate Library to meet the evolving learning, studying, research, and content creation needs of the 21^st Century undergraduate student. The Learning Commons at the Undergraduate Library wasn’t separate from the Undergraduate Library, but an extension of it’s core values, and representation of it’s philosophical approach to library services & programs

For the past 40 years, the Undergraduate Library has been the central hub of undergraduate research and learning on the University of Illinois Urbana campus. The LC@UGL represented the principle that today’s students need the library to not only be a place where they can access the information resources they need to do their coursework, but a site that supports their entire research process, from engaging their curiosity through producing a final intellectual product-in whatever form they need that final project to take.

Funding for the Learning Commons was due in large part thanks to The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.

  • 2006 Unveiling the Learning Commons — Planning stage Video with Lori Mestre presenting
  • May 4, 2006–Learning Commons at Undergrad Library to Integrate Services https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/211556
  • April 3, 2006.  Extreme makeover: Library edition. University planning modern-day update to building that opened in 1970. From “Access World News”  ugl makeover
  • Script for video prepared by Housing that included the UGL (2007). Undergrad Library Commercial 2007

The Learning Commons concept eventually evolved into the Media Commons, which incorporated the technology, media and support that students needed.

Annual Reports

Stats in 2000

  • More than 250,000 books.
  • 320 current magazine and journal subscriptions.
  • 3,200 reserve items.
  • More than 75,000 non-print items.
  • Plus, adaptive equipment to assist users with disabilities.
  • The undergrad library was open 107 hours a week. Monday through Thursday the hours were from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday the library was open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday it was open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.
  • State of the Undergraduate Library 2006-2007 http://www.library.illinois.edu/committee/exec/supplement/2007-2008/State_of_the_Undergraduate_Library.pdf


See also past UGL Newsletter

  • Oct. 27, 2000–UGL 30th anniversary
  • 2001-2002 Electronic reserves – This began as a pilot program  expected to be in full service by the end of the 2001-02 school year. This service scans reserved items and offers them online so those students can read the items from computers in their own rooms or any other location.
  • 2005– Tunnel Renovations Oct. 14 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
    tunnel under ugl and main library
  • 2005 (March) UGL begins circulating DVDs
  • 2006– UGL began collecting video games
  • 2006– UGL interior underwent renovation
  • September 2007.  UGL extended late night hours.  New hours were 8 am to 3am (Sunday evening through Friday) with support of the Provost and student fees. Weekend  hours (open at 10am on both Saturday and Sunday, and close at 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.


2006 – 2008 Renovation

Beginning in the Spring of 2005 the Undergraduate Library began making plans that resulted in some changes in order to prepare and meet the changing learning needs of our students.  With students needing more group collaborative space, the growth in emerging technologies for assignments and personal learning, and the development of a cohesive message about what information services entail, the physical reconfigurations listed below took place (with a planning effort led by Lori Mestre, who later became Head of the UGL in 2009):

  • more than half of the study carrels were removed.
  • the periodicals collection was moved downstairs
  • the microfilm machines and microfilm were moved to the History, Newspaper and Philosophy Library
  • Media services were moved to the lower level
  • the Career Cluster was moved to another area of the library
  • the Reference Collection was weeded by 2/3.
  • the Reference and Circulation desks were consolidated and reconfigured
  • Added four group collaboration rooms (with more on the way)
  • a new book section was created
  • a loanable technology program was expanded
  • added 10 iMacs to the public computers
  • 2006 Brown Bag about the Learning Commons (Lori Mestre)
  • added a desk area and computer terminal to Information Services Desk for UGL partners from other campus units

study carrels
Wall to Wall Carrels

angled study carrels

removal of study carrels
Carrels ready to be removed

several stacks of books
Sea of books ready to be removed

red chairs in the ugl
Original red chairs ready to be covered

ugl service desks
New desk configuration

ugl collaboration rooms
New Collaboration Rooms

media items at ugl
New Media Collection

library laptops, flashdrives, and cameras
Loanable Technology