Seton Hill University (SHU) is known for being a technologically advance university. Every incoming student is given updated Apple technology. The Information Technology (IT) department aids students and faculty with their technological needs. The IT department is moving from their location on the 4th floor of the Administration building to the library, turning the library into SHU’s new Technology Learning Commons.
“The concept behind the Learning Commons is to bring the library more into the 21st century by restructuring the library not to be a stand alone part of campus, but to have it be part of an area that is welcoming to students and sharing space with campus departments whose offerings compliment each other. In our case that would be the library and IT,” said David Stanley, the director of Reeves library.
Reeves Memorial Library will not be torn down, but will be “gutted” and completely renovated. The top floor will be the Learning Commons of the building. This floor will have the IT department, IT offices, library offices, a gaming room, the help center, and smaller rooms that student can reserve.
The lower floor will be the library. “A popular rumor going around is that we are going to eliminate the library all together. That is not true! It is simply being relocated and updated. It’s the same library, same collection, same references but a different location,” said Stanley.
“To support our technology and become a very visible part of the organization I like the idea of up- grading our library to become a 21st century learning commons that will include collaborative spaces and technology that will help facilitate that modality of learning,” said Phil Komarny, vice president and chief information officer.
“We are not getting rid of books completely, but we have to adjust with the technology. We had the teacher’s come and sort through the books in their department. While we offer eBooks, and other online databases, some of our books were out of date,” said Stanley. “Having a smaller collection of books won’t be a problem because we have the online sources still. It’s focused on of the library and to see what the technological aspect we can to do help the student.”
“The learning commons is designed to be a shared learning space for students, staff and faculty. We hope it will create an environment which extends the traditional walls of learning – the classroom, to a more social environment – the learning common, a place for study, relaxation and fun,” said Provost Mary Ann Gawelek
Currently, the first floor of the library is the main campus library, and the bottom is a lounge area that leads to the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) library. “The plans will not affect the LECOM library, they will remain a separate entity, and will not change” said Stanley.
The learning commons is a collaboration of SHU’s largest reference sources according to Stanley. “I think having it will be a big advantage for the students, The two will be combined in one building and there will be on running around from place to place.”
“The ability to create a communal space that is infused with technology and facilitates students ability to learn collaboratively is a differentiator that Seton Hill has and will continue to leverage. These learning spaces will continue to evolve, all in the mission of preparing students for life in a world that they will be living in. By embracing mobility, cloud and social, the three key aspects of computing today, Seton Hill has provided students, faculty and staff a platform to learn, educate and innovate,” said Komarny.
Although the Writing Center; another campus provided reference for students is not moving to the new learning commons, the commons hopes to discuss with them about have occasional representatives come to the library to assistant students with help, according to library staff.
“The learning commons is designed to encourage intellectual exchange between students and among stu- dents and faculty/staff, a place for small group interac- tion and study, and an environment for identifying and evaluating information resources as such increasing information fluency skills,” said Gawelek.
“The plan for consolidation is that everything will work to make sure that the transition is smooth and that the service is always the best for our students. When moved, everything will look completely differ- ent and students and faculty will be pleasantly pleased and surprised,” said Stanley.
“While it will have robust technology, it is designed to have shared learning space filled with students, staff and faculty. A one shop space that supports learning,” said Gawelek
No official date for construction to begin has been released, but according to Stanley, SHU hopes to start construction sometime at the end of the 2014 spring semester.
“It will be easy access with being in Reeves. Students pass it multiple times a day. I will not be around to enjoy the new facility, but it is a get advantage for the future Griffins. Many of times while studying you go to the library to use the study rooms. While doing that, you may run in to technology problems and or questions. With the Learning Commons, you only have to work a few steps to get everything you need.”
– Kelly Lowery, senior communication major
“We can utilize the technology in one place. I think it is unnecessary because the school is already technologically sound.”
-Maddison Gongaware, Freshman Chemistry major
“Having all these resources in one place will help to make any kind of work easier to complete. It will also help new students I feel, to have all important resources in one central, easy to find location. I will definite- ly use the new facilities to help with my classes and future research. I already go to the library when I need a quiet place to get a lot of work done.”
– Ashley Filapose, freshman business administration major