Checking Out the Library Renovations

By Tori Rodgers

The campus library has been going through some changes in these last few months; it’s been impossible not to notice the things thrown out of the second floor window into a dumpster, or the construction noise above your head, or the signs that announce the temporary closing of the second and third floors.

But what is going on exactly?

Mary-Ann Frischkorn, the library’s Circulation Supervisor of eleven years, explained the renovations. “The Center for Student Success, the whole department, is moving into the library on the second floor,” she said. “There are offices, [tutoring] and testing rooms, and meeting room spaces that are being created.”

To make room, the books that were previously in that space will be moved to the third floor. “In order to make room for the books to go on the third floor, the archives got moved to the basement in the library and the honors lounge… was moved as well,” Frischkorn said.

Faith Brenneman, a sophomore biology major, is a second-year student library worker and first-year tutor in the Honors program; she’s spent a lot of her time in the library.

“I typically would tutor in the library just because it’s a convenient location, and then the Honors lounge I would use a lot to study,” Brenneman said. “I liked the bottom floor for tutoring just because you can be louder and it’s really easy to see and meet new people.”

The Honors lounge has been moved to Founders Hall for now. “It’s a nice location to kind of be away from a lot of people, but also it’s kind of hard to go and study [in] since it’s all the way in Founders,” Brenneman said. “I still have used it multiple times this semester… [It’s] a place to hang out but also get stuff done.”

Back in the library, they have unfortunately had to go without access to a chunk of their collection this semester.

“Until we can get the shelves constructed on the third floor, all of the books… got boxed up… [and] are temporarily unavailable,” Frischkorn said. All of the books with ]call numbers in the 500s to the 900s are “in storage across campus.”

Books were boxed by the librarians themselves, with the help of student workers. One such worker, junior zoo and wildlife biology major Pollyanna Smith, has been at the library for three years including summers.

“We had to box up all the books… and we also had to relocate the 400s… and we had to shift the 300s to make room for the 400s,” Smith said. “We also did a fair bit of shifting in the reference section so that we could… make room for the handicap restroom on the first floor.”

With these renovations, student workers’ jobs have been “mostly just organizing the books and making sure everything was able to be moved and that the books were all going to be kept safe,” Smith said.

“It’s a little disheartening to not be able to help everybody when they come in wanting a book and we don’t currently have it [available],” Smith said. “It’s a lot harder to get people the books that they want.”

“It’s not possible for them to check out our books that are boxed up, but they can always request books through OhioLink,” Frischkorn said. “It will be here in our library in three to five business days.”

However, the library does have books on the other half of the second floor that are available to check out. A student can still come into the library and happily leave with a book.

“If [students] have the call number, they can hand it to us and we can go up and get it,” Frischkorn said. “Right now, the books that are accessible are accessible to library staff only because [they are] in a hard hat only area.”

If a student is unable to provide a call number, the librarians and student workers are more than happy to help the student find it and retrieve their book.

The timeline for these renovations isn’t set in stone, but the library can be expected to return to normalcy sometime in 2020.

“The Center for Student Success will be moved in and operational in time for fall,” Frischkorn said. “Probably this summer we will be returning the books to the shelves… The goal is to have everything back to normal by fall.”

Not only are things being moved, but the remaining library features are also being improved, such as the second floor study carrels and bathrooms, including the addition of a bathroom on the first floor.

“The new study carrel spaces are going to be really neat,” Frischkorn said. “There’s going to be a couple rooms that will be large enough for two people.” They will be updated and better soundproofed to aid in focused studying.

“It’ll be nice to have the Center for Student Success here in the building because it’s a consolidation of resources to support students’ learning,” Frischkorn said. “All the resources [will be] here; we’ll have tutoring here [and] research help from the librarians… [We’re] looking forward to collaborating with the Center for Student Success.”

“I’m looking forward to having all the books back,” Smith said. “It’s a mess, but it’s in the process of becoming the best space it can be… Next semester, it’s going to be fantastic.”

Even now, the library is a great place for learning. “If people need a quiet space to study, there’s always the Bailey room,” Frischkorn said. “The Bailey room is for silent study, not for group study, so if you need to get out of your room… you have the 24-hour quiet space.”

If you find yourself struggling in any of your classes, seek out a free peer tutor like Faith Brenneman. “Always feel free to seek out help; everyone needs it occasionally,” Brenneman said. “It’s a lot of fun for us to talk about things we’re passionate about or understand… It’s a cool experience to have someone your age teach you.”

The library staff hopes that, despite some construction and noise, students will still use them as a resource. “We’re still happy to help you find free sources and articles online,” Frischkorn said. “The librarians are always happy to help!”

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