As academic libraries everywhere strive to balance tradition and technology, CSM’s own Arthur Lakes library is implementing a series of changes to update its facility.
“It is transforming into more of a community center and not so much the stereotypical library,” said Gyasi Evans, Outreach and Engagement Librarian. The library has recently undergone a substantial change of staff, and Carol Smith, newly appointed University Librarian, is working with others to implement a strategic plan that focuses on students.
“It is all about what students need and how they can use the library best,” Evans explained. “It is what we can do to better serve our student population.” The library recently added several beanbag chairs, two stationary bicycle study stations, and four bicycle floor units to give students more resources. Librarians are tracking usage of these items and will add more if needed.
The library is also looking to expand its selection of items available for student checkout. While students can currently borrow noise-cancelling headphones, tools, cell phone chargers, and passes and maps to Colorado state parks, other items like laptop chargers will soon be available for checkout as well.
“The biggest thing is getting our resources out to students,” Evans stated. “They don’t know what’s available.” In addition to physical resources, Arthur Lakes librarians also want students to put a face to library staff and know that research help is always available.
Ultimately, library team members would like to implement more dramatic changes in the next several years; while plans are still very preliminary and subject to change, these may entail expanding the library’s physical footprint, adding another computer lab, and expanding online resources. Book and Brew could potentially be expanded as well and may be able to offer a larger selection of menu items.
“It could be really big or really small,” Evans explained of future renovation. “It’s all about finding a balance of funding and the right time.”
Regardless, renovations will focus on engaging with students, faculty, and staff to make the resource fit the needs of a changing campus. Several Arthur Lakes Librarians visited other academic libraries—including those of the University of Denver and the Auraria campus—to see how hours, design, and space allocation can be utilized. They want to involve the Mines community every step of the way.
“The modern academic library is more student-focused,” Evans said. “The library is essentially a support system.” Once plans for library expansion or renovation are officially approved, the library team will work to engage campus and students to gauge preferences and needs.
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