Writing Commons opens with bigger space, expectations

DKS Editors

Staff sees ‘personality,’ possibilities in library

The smell of new paint and fresh carpet was still a prominent fixture in the newly constructed Writing Commons Monday, as staff brainstormed program ideas to implement in their new location.

The Writing Commons, previously called the Writing Center, became fully operational in its new location on the fourth floor of the Main Library yesterday. This is the first space specifically dedicated to house the Writing Commons.

“The new space fits our personality,” said Kristin Maile, first-year grad student and former Writing Center employee. “Before we had this big, big personality, and we were stuck in this little hole, but now we have a space with color, wallpaper and it’s beautiful, and it’s us,” she excitedly added.

The new Writing Commons is the result of a three-month construction project. The original grand opening was scheduled for August 19, but was delayed by hold-ups and complications with contractors. The Writing Commons began its services the third week of school, despite not having a site to operate from. Writing Commons director Jeanne Smith is used to functioning under less than desirable circumstances.

“We just proved that for a week and a day, we could operate out of (the fourth floor study lounge). You can’t keep a good writing center down,” she proclaimed.

The Writing Center has expanded from humble beginnings. In 1975, its central location was a cart that was wheeled from session to session. It was given its first fixed location in 1993 when it was moved to room 318 in Satterfield Hall – where it operated until this year. The Satterfield Hall site never seemed adequate enough to writing center staff and employees, and they felt like they deserved a space built specifically for them.

“It makes me feel a lot more professional to have an actual dedicated facility for us instead of just a modified classroom,” said senior Latin major Dan MacGregor, a third-year writing commons employee. “To see the evolution of us coming from a bunch of supplies on a cart to the old writing center to the new writing commons, it makes me feel good about where this facility is going,”

The Writing Commons hopes that its new location in the library will open the doors to collaborative efforts between librarians and Writing Commons staff.

“I think it’s (the library) a great central location, with a lot of resources,” said Erin Maxwell, senior English major and first-year Writing Commons employee. “Hopefully it will create more opportunities for people to come here.”

The Writing Commons will offer Sunday hours for the first time in its history this year. Tutoring sessions can be scheduled by phone or in person at the Writing Commons office at its new library location.

Contact Library and Information Services reporter Aaron Kaufman at [email protected]