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Wednesday, March 10, 2004
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Alden Library plans renovation and new Learning Commons

ATHENS, Ohio (March 10, 2004) -- A significant renovation will transform the second floor of Ohio University's Alden Library into an innovative learning and study space to be known as the Learning Commons. The area will support students' academic success by integrating information, computing and tutoring services to provide students with the resources required for group and individual educational projects and activities.

Artist's rendering of the Alden Library Learning CommonsIn addition to casual study areas, the Learning Commons will also feature new study rooms specifically for group work.

"The Learning Commons is designed with students in mind, and the space is structured as a student would lay out a study area, with pertinent resources close at hand. We are very excited to be planning a wonderful and unique study and research space for students," Dean of University Libraries Julie Zimmerman said.

"The Learning Commons will be a bright and inviting place, full of computers and people to help with all levels of research. In addition to a new entrance lobby, the renovated facility will feature a large service desk, and there will be new furniture, carpeting and equipment throughout," Zimmerman said. "The library plays an integral role in students' learning and research, and this project supports the university's mission of maintaining a campus that is supportive of a quality educational experience."

In the Learning Commons, students will find electronic and print information resources, along with reference librarians to provide research consultation and assistance. Computer workstations will offer an array of software applications and multimedia devices for the production of projects, papers, presentations, or other coursework and assignments. Technical assistance will also be available for computing questions or problems. The Writing Center will offer tutoring services within the central lobby of the Learning Commons.

In response to student requests for increased library hours, the space has been designed to support extended hours of operation.

When construction begins in late March, the main public service desk, periodical and reserve collections, and many personnel currently on the second floor of Alden Library will be re-located to the fourth floor. Demolition and construction will require closing of the second floor doors for the duration of the project. The snack room, which also provides vending machines, will be closed as well. The Computer Lab will remain in operation through the spring quarter and possibly through the first summer session. Instructional Media and Technology Service (IMTS) will be open throughout the entire period. The Learning Commons is slated to be ready for the 2004-2005 academic year starting in September 2004.

Timely and innovative renovations have been identified as a priority during the university's Bicentennial Campaign, and more than $630,000 in private gifts has been secured to support the renovation. The $1.4 million project is also funded by $250,000 from the State Capital Improvements Bill, and Ohio University Libraries are providing the additional funds.

The Learning Commons is a cooperative project among the University Libraries, Computer Services, and University College. It incorporates the Library's Reference and Instruction Department, the Computing Lab operated by Computer Services and University College's Writing Center, all within one location. More information about the Alden Library Learning Commons is available on the Web: www.library.ohiou.edu/libinfo/lc.

The Ohio University Libraries are ranked among the top research libraries in North America and hold membership in the prestigious Association of Research Libraries. The Libraries offer personalized service, an extensive electronic library and more than 2.4 million volumes, and include the Vernon R. Alden Library, the Music/Dance Library and the Hwa-Wei Lee Annex at the Athens campus, as well as libraries on the five regional campuses. For more information, visit the Ohio University Libraries online at: www.library.ohiou.edu.

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Media Contacts: Dean of University Libraries Julia Zimmerman, (740) 593-2705, or Associate Dean for Public Services Nancy Rue, (740) 593-2696

Note to media: An artist rendering of the Learning Commons is available online at www.ohio.edu/news/pix/RENDERING.JPG

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