Major welcome changes are coming to Homer Babbidge Library: the main on-campus study space for most UConn Storrs students. An interview between Library Assistant Vice Provost Holly Phillips and Alexandra Retter of The Daily Campus discussed the upcoming renovations as the library prepares to enter the first stage of a three-stage, five-year plan. As these changes take place it is critical that student input is continually taken into consideration and that none of the renovations seriously inconvenience students’ study routines.
In the interview, Phillips says the goal of the renovation project is to use library space more efficiently, and to create spaces to host events such as research symposiums and lectures. The recent move of the Humanities Institute to the fourth floor of the library is one example. Certainly, this was a move in a positive direction and reflects the future vision of the library, putting research in a more accessible, central location for students to promote their engagement. A library is not just a place to study, but to find resources and support for research and other intellectual endeavors.The Writing and Quantitative Learning Centers will similarly move to the second floor, in an effort to “[increase] their footprint,” according to Phillips, and Husky Tech will move to the first floor and gain a bigger support desk. Additionally, level three will become a graduate student commons in the future.
Throughout the renovation process and afterwards, it is important that the library maintains a high student-to-seat ratio. Jean Nelson, Library Head of Communications and Engagement, stated this in her interview with the Daily Campus, but its importance cannot be overstated. It has increasingly become a problem as the UConn student population has risen. Being able to study in the library allows students to focus, and ultimately do better in their classes. With these new changes, not only may students continue to struggle to find a seat in the library during exams time, they may also be less quiet spaces amidst construction, or they may return from a break to see their favorite study spot has been moved, and will not know where to relocate. Fortunately, Phillips mentioned that new compact shelving will reduce space taken up by collections. However this is just one example, also touched upon by Phillips, as to why student-university communication will be very important throughout the renovation process.