By Trisha Dunham
When Kalamazoo College’s Upjohn Library Commons was initially renovated and reopened in 2006, Library Director Stacy Nowicki was unsure what exactly the students would desire in terms of study areas.
Since the previous library was used so infrequently, she had a difficult time predicting how to fill the space, so most of the library was filled with identical tables and chairs. Yet, with time students’ desires have become clear, and Nowicki plans to fulfill these wishes.
Due to Nowicki’s observations and efforts, the Kalamazoo College Library will be experiencing more renovations over the next few months. The most immediate of these renovations will be occurring on the first floor near the Writing Center. Changes taking place in this area will consist of the new Academic Resource Center, new furniture, and a reduced reference book section.
The Academic Resource Center is intended to provide assistance to the biology and chemistry students, however there is an additional office within the center that has yet to be filled. New furniture surrounding this area is envisioned for group work and will comprise of the existing computers, movable comfortable furniture, and large T-shaped white boards. These large white boards are movable and can either be used for group work or as shields.
Additional workspace and part of the Academic Resource Center will form the space that the reference books occupied. Nowicki clarified that the reference books were rarely used, so a majority of them will be sold or given away in order to better utilize the space. Yet, the existing furniture on the first floor will not be lost. This furniture will find a new home either on the second or third floor.
However, the movement of furniture is not all that Nowicki has planned for the upper floors. She wants to replace the wood in the Reading Room doors with glass, in order for students to continue to have a quiet work place and maintain a welcoming environment. In her long-term plan, she hopes to fill the space directly outside the Reading Room with additional comfortable furniture and the tables from the first floor.
The west side of the Reading Room will be turned into study rooms for additional group work areas. Finally, she hopes that eventually she’ll be able to turn a lot of the windowsills on the second and third floors into window seats with room screens, for additional quiet work areas.
Overall, the goal of the renovations is to improve the library in every way possible in order to create the best and most productive study environment for the students.