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Commons cast as 'cool' study spot

Sept. 23, 2004

By Marisa Long

Alden Library has been earning rave reviews from its toughest critics since introducing the Learning Commons fall quarter.

Students are impressed with the newly renovated second floor and keep coming back to use the facility. Learning Commons photos by Rick FaticaThe Learning Commons offers a spacious area with approximately 120 computers, numerous study tables and chairs, lounge areas, a writing and tutor center, group study rooms, reference racks and a central service station housing technical and reference support. Students no longer have to check their student IDs in order to use a computer and can pick up their own printouts from printer-sharing computer clusters.

"There is no comparison between the Learning Commons and the old second floor," says John Pratt, a graduate student majoring in history. "I never came to the second floor to do my studying before, but the computers and technology offered along with the many tables and the spacious area make everything easy to access. Now I come just about every day to do research and work on my thesis."

Wanda Weinberg, head of reference and instruction and coordinator of the Learning Commons, says student reactions are very positive to the renovations of the very busy commons.

Photos by Rick Fatica"People like not only the new technology, but also the study space," she says. "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 same floor is really appealing to students."

The Learning Commons, which is a cooperative project among the University Libraries, Computer Services and University College, is focused on students' needs.

Gary Noe, a senior majoring in Management Information Systems, is a student manager in the Learning Commons. He has worked for computer services for three years, but says his position now is more student-oriented.

"You can get so much more information in one place than anywhere in the library before," he says. "It is a lot better for employees because we are able to actually help students who have technical questions and focus on customer service instead of checking student IDs and pulling copies off the printers. Students have the ease of knowing they can go anywhere in the Learning Commons to any of the employees for information."

One of the most appealing aspects of the commons is beginning Oct. 25 the facility will be open for 24 hours Sunday through Thursday, with additional extended hours on weekends. Currently, it is open during regular library hours.

Bruce Mutter, a senior majoring in English, says, "I think the changes are awesome. It's great that it will be open for 24 hours. I'll probably come really early in the morning before regular library hours start."

A grand opening ceremony for the Learning Commons will be held Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 22-24. For more information, visit the Alden Library Web site at www.library.ohiou.edu.  

Marisa Long is a writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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