Welcome to our renovation and expansion webpages. We are looking forward to using this platform to share updates on the building projects and general news about the future of academic libraries.
For the last several years, I have been focused on new building projects (at both UNCW and my previous institution). As a result, I have visited new libraries and exhibits related to library furnishing and equipment at national library conferences. These visits and discussions with architects, vendors and fellow librarians make it abundantly clear that today’s academic libraries are focused on flexibility and service. As student learning and working styles continually evolve, our libraries must adapt quickly to student needs. Spaces are changeable; furniture, including service desks, is increasingly mobile and extensible, thanks to casters and other features. Services are provided throughout buildings and are increasingly diverse, including technology assistance, food service, printing and other related services in addition to traditional library research and instruction.
The library we are designing will fit these trends well. We plan to include swathes of open floor plans to allow current students to configure spaces and areas to meet their individual and collective needs and to position future staff to re-conceive spaces as learning needs evolve. As the library is currently configured, our spaces easily adjust from individual to group settings. In addition to designated seminar and group collaboration rooms, many of our furnishings offer opportunities for spontaneous group work. We will continue to build upon new spaces and services such as our digital maker space and faculty commons. We will equip all areas with new hardware and software so that students, faculty and staff can create new knowledge as well as easily access information. The new Randall Library will be a model of “learning on display,” driven by the guiding principle of student learning: student engagement. We will encourage and support active involvement of students in the process, including student participation on the renovation leadership team.
We know that the libraries of 2030 and 2050 will be vastly different from the library we build in 2020, and we believe we are designing a building that will serve students well when it opens and will adapt to each new generation of students for the foreseeable future.
Dr. Lucy Holman