Sept. 16, 2005
By Jessica Stark
Since Alden Library introduced the Learning Commons a year ago, there hasn't been a problem packing the house. Already offering a large area with more than 120 computers, group study rooms, numerous study tables and chairs, this year the Learning Commons will be more spacious and accessible than ever.
The Learning Commons, which is a cooperative project among the University Libraries, Computer Services and University College, is focused on students' needs. By adding a new handicap ramp, the library is making sure that everyone can utilize the Learning Commons, located on the second floor.
Perhaps the most exciting change is the addition of the Café Biblio Tech; a coffeehouse serving espresso and food items. With open seating for 50 people, the café gives students a place to study and relax. Wireless internet accessibility makes it a great place for laptops. With twice as many as last year, the library has 32 laptops that can be checked out for student use within the library.
"We've added 45 general use PCs and six multimedia computers to address that demand and the popularity of the Learning Commons," said Associate Dean for Libraries Gary Hunt.
Wanda Weinberg, head of reference and instruction and coordinator of the Learning Commons, said student reactions are very positive to the renovations.
"People like not only the new technology, but also the study space," she said. "They find the environment comfortable and inviting. I think the integration of assistance from writing tutors, the computer services staff and reference librarians, all on the same floor, is really appealing to students."
That same floor features group study rooms that are popular among students. There is also a new classroom where students can learn how to effectively research using the Internet and library. The classroom has 30 workstations that are open to all students when a class is not in session.
Still, one of the most appealing aspects of the commons is that it is open 24 hours Sunday through Thursday, with additional extended hours on weekends. For more information, visit the Alden Library Web site at http://www.library.ohiou.edu/.
Jessica Stark is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.