The Krannert Memorial Library will soon undergo some changes due to the technological advances of the 21st century. When the library was built in 1977, funded by the Krannert family, it was not made for all of today’s technology. Christine Guyonneau, university archivist and associate librarian, compared the libraries of today with those when she went to school.
“Life is changing tremendously because of technology. You, students, are doing things quite differently from what we were doing,” Guyonneau said. “One of the things that this library was not built for was the arrival of technology.”
This prompted committees to start brainstorming ideas about how to improve the accessibility and connectivity of the library. Matthew Shaw, director of Krannert Memorial Library, attended many of these committee meetings.
“We need more space [in the library], so one of the goals is to consolidate the print collections into a single area and to utilize the remaining space for active learning,” Shaw said. “We want the library to be a place where students and faculty can work together, where students can come study individually, they can study in groups [and] they can practice presentations in study rooms. We want this to be a place where learning is happening.”
Some new additions to the library include study spaces, new furniture, outlets and more. The majority of this new furniture will be easily movable, unlike the current bulky chairs and couches. The egg chairs will not be removed. A strong possibility of the renovation is the addition of a coffee shop.
“[A coffee shop] is one of the things that emerged in the discussions with students and faculty,” Shaw said. “I think that there’s a high demand for it, and I think that there will need to be those kinds of social spaces in the renovated library to make it truly more welcoming.”
Some other things that Shaw hopes will be changed are some of the service areas and the front desk on the first floor.
“You walk in the door, and you are greeted by that fortress of a desk. It’s a barrier, and it’s not inviting,” Shaw said. “One of the things that we want to do is create spaces and service spaces that are more inviting to students, where a student really feels like they can approach a librarian, sit down and have an impromptu conversation about their information needs.”
The renovations to the library may affect students and faculty in a number of ways. While these changes may be beneficial in the long run they also may be an inconvenience during the switch.
“I think our students are looking for more places on campus to work together and to work with faculty,” Shaw said. “I think this will have a real impact on student success. … [I hope] the renovated library will offer the kinds of spaces and the active learning environment that our students and faculty are looking for.”
Shaw also said that the library will remain open for students and faculty to use during renovations.
“There are going to be times where some of the spaces won’t be available during renovation,” Shaw said. “The plan is that the library will remain fully operational during the entire renovation.”
Even with inconveniences Shaw is excited about the changes.
“We will experience some kind of displacement, and the collections are going to have to be moved,” he said. “Service areas will likely be moving, but we have a good team here that I think is flexible and agile enough that we can continue to offer access to our collections and services throughout the renovation period.”