Following the reopening of the first floor in fall 2019, the second floor of Hale Library is on track to open on March 16 — the day students return from spring break.
With almost 100 computers and additional study spaces planned, the second floor of the library will function similarly to how it did prior to the fire. The two major changes: moving the entrance closer to the main doors and joining the library and information technology service desks.
“Students seem to love the first floor,” Lori Goetsch, dean of libraries, said. “We have been kind of tracking our numbers of people coming into that space, and we’re pretty crowded. We really need to get that second floor open so people can spread out a little more.”
Hazel Hitchcock, sophomore in life sciences, said she thinks opening up the second floor will benefit students using the library.
“I think more people will go [when the second floor opens] because when it’s only one floor, it is hard to find empty seats and empty areas to study,” Hitchcock said. “I think that more people will eventually end up going [to] and utilizing the library.”
Hitchcock said the first floor of the library became her second home when it opened in fall 2019.
“I’m a really big visual learner,” Hitchcock said. “[The library] is like all whiteboards, and so I love that because I just love writing things out. I like to stand and write and draw pictures and erase and keep writing, so I really loved it for its whiteboards.”
When making decisions about the future renovations of Hale Library, Goetsch said they are keeping student opinions in mind by gathering data about what spaces students seem to enjoy.
“We are trying to get more whiteboards into the second floor and the other floors because we see how heavily they are used on the first floor,” Goetsch said. “Students seem to like different types of seating environments, so we are trying to pay attention to that.”
The third, fourth and fifth floors are scheduled to open sometime late in fall 2020. Future plans include a large, 60-seat instruction room on the third floor and the eventual reopening of the Great Room.
“A lot of people ask about the Great Room, the ‘Harry Potter’ room,” Goetsch said. “That room in particular took a lot of the worst damage from the fire and the water and smoke that happened in May of 2018, so it’s going to take us longer to restore that room. But it will come back and be very similar to what it was before the fire.”
A new addition to the library will be the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab, which is scheduled to open in fall 2020. The space will provide access to various technologies including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, mixed reality, media development, audio/video recording and 3D printing.
“That’s going to be a place where students can engage with … all those kinds of new technology tools that students are going to be expected to know about and use in the workplace,” Goetsch said. “We want to give them an opportunity to be exposed to those tools in the library.”
Goetsch said overall, student feedback on Hale’s renovations has been very positive.
“I think students are kind of voting with their feet by showing up and telling us that they like what they see,” Goetsch said.